Topic: Nicholas II
In the village of Kolomna (Kolomenskoye), near Moscow, on March 2/15, 1917, the day on which Emperor Nicholas II abdicated the throne, a new icon of the Mother of God appeared, known as the "Reigning" icon. This icon was found amid the odds and ends and dust in a basement, following the directions given by a certain deeply pious, God-fearing woman, who had thrice received a vision while asleep. There had appeared to her a large, very dark icon of the Mother of God wearing a robe of royal purple, a crown on her head, holding the scepter and orb of the Russian sovereigns, and seated on a throne.
Over the course of several months, the icon miraculously renewed itself and became bright and clear. The significance of this icon, which wondrously appeared to the Russian nation on the day of its greatest spiritual tragedy (the day of the Tsar's abdication) is that the Mother of God, in an extraordinarly significant way, came herself to the "Home of the Theotokos," which had been prepared for her by all of Russia's history, at the most grievous moment in the life of the people chosen by God, and took upon herself the burden of the Supreme Authority in the Russian realm.
Knowing the exceptional power of the faith and prayer of the Sovereign, Emperor Nicholas II, and his especially reverent veneration for the Mother of God, we cannot doubt that he had besought the Queen of heaven to assume the royal authority over the people who had rejected their anointed Tsar. Unusual for a image of the Mother of God, she is depicted as stern of countenance and severe, and the gaze of her sorrowful eyes is commanding, full of tears of both anger and love. The people of Russia understood this miraculous, prophetic sign: penitential prayers to the "Reigning" Mother of God began to be offered up all throughout Russia, and the icon itself, in countless copies, began to adorn all the churches of Russia. A marvellous akathist to this icon began to circulate, and the whole Church fell on its knees when listening to it.
The atheistic government, of course, could not remain indifferent to such "religious propaganda," and began cruelly to persecute all who venerated this icon. The akathist was proscribed, and the icons themselves were removed from the churches. The composers of the service and the akathist were executed by firing squad.
© Ivan Mikhailovich Andreevsky. 25 March, 2011