CELEBRATION IN THE HOLY TRANSFIGURATION CHURCH
IN LOS ANGELES ON THE PARISH FEAST DAY
IN LOS ANGELES ON THE PARISH FEAST DAY
Los Angeles, CA - At the invitation of His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Grace Bishop Maxim concelebrated the Holy Liturgy with with the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion and His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill at the Holy Transfiguration Church in Los Angeles on the Parish Feast Day – the Day of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, Friday, August 6/19, 2011. This day also marks the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the miraculous Sef-Renewal of the Icon of the Mother of God “Troeruchitsa.”
History of the Icon - The Self-Renovation of Icon of the Mother of God “Of Three Hands.”
In August 1961, at Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles the icon of the Mother of God “Of the Three Hands” miraculously began to renew itself. It had been placed, for a long time, on the western wall of the old church behind the candle stand.
This icon is painted in the ancient Russian style on a small wooden board, which with time, became bowed, and the colors became so dark, that almost nothing could be distinguished on it. Subsequently it was supplied by someone with a simple riza. This icon was bought by a pious parishioner, Ivan Semenovich Moloch around 1936 in a Hollywood store, which sold ancient Russian icons, seized during the persecution by atheists during the destruction of churches in Russia and then sold abroad. On the reverse side of the icon a paper ticket from the store survived. Soon it was donated to Holy Transfiguration Church.
The first to notice the renovation was Sister Nina Yakovich, who was living at the Church and who, on August 1/14, 1961 noted that the left side of the icon, which shows the third hand of God the Mother, had brightened. On the following days the icon became lighter all the time. However, Sister Nina did not say anything to almost anybody about it, for fear of being wrong and supposing that maybe someone cleaned up the image, just as an artist in another church repainted another icon of the Mother of God and spread false rumors that the icon had renewed itself.
On the day of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist on August 29, another parishioner, Zoya N. Ghafari, who was cleaning the church after the liturgy, noticed that the formerly always dark icon of the Mother of God “Of Three Hands” had significantly lightened, and immediately reported it.
Soon other parishioners, who remembered well the dark, almost black holy image, began to testify about the self-renovation occurring. This was also confirmed by the deacon in charge of order in the church of the of Fr. Vasili Eremenko.
The priest serving at Holy Transfiguration Cathedral, Archpriest Fr. Leonid Stadnikov served a molieben before the icon on June 28 Old Style, the feast day of the image “Of Three Hands,” a month before the self-renovation. He stated that during the molieben the Icon was, as always, very dark, like the ancient icon of Our Lady of Vladimir, located in the altar, and that now an amazing change and renovation the image had occurred.
On the icon appeared golden brown finish, which before was completely inconspicuous, and which now gives the icon its primary color tone. The faces of the Mother of God and the Infant Saviour are clear. The lightening of the colors continued all the time. Many flocked to the temple and noticed that even during a single day on August 29 the icon in the evening was lighter than it was in the afternoon. It was the same during the next two days August 30 and 31: The icon that was placed on the lectern in the middle of the church, constantly, in front of everyone, brightened.
The Lord Jesus Christ said that the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be confirmed (Mt. 18, 16). There are many more good people who are true witnesses of the miracle. Thus, we witness to the great mercy of God and of the Mother of God, manifested, perhaps, for the diligence with which the Russian Orthodox faithful people of Los Angeles annually welcomed and received the miraculous Kursk Icon of Our Lady of the Sign, thus showing their zeal for the Intercessor of Christians.
Perhaps the Lord glorifies the Icon “Of Three Hands” because of the prayers in front of her in the past, because for centuries the icon served the object of reverent worship in Russia.
There is no doubt that the miraculous renewal of the Holy Icon “Of the Three Hands,” the Lord reveals His almighty miracle-working power. Since then, almost every Sunday, in front of a miraculously self-renewed icon a Molieben is served at the Cathedral.
Most Holy Theotokos save us!