The Chernobyl Saviour Icon was recently transferred from the Ukraine to Japan, so that it may rest in an Orthodox church there. The act was done out of the Ukrainians’ solidarity with their Orthodox brethren in Japan in light of the March earthquake and tsunami, which lead to the threat of nuclear meltdown at a number of power-plants.
The icon itself was painted in the early 21st century in remembrance of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. It depicts Jesus Christ the Saviour in Heaven, surrounded by a mandorla, with His hand raised in a blessing. Flanking Christ is the Mother of God to His right, supplicating her Son, and the Archangel Michael to His left.
Below them is the scene of desolation caused by the Chernobyl disaster, along with those who died because of it. As well as white-robed figures, there are various medical workers, nuclear staff, and soldiers, all of whom battled to contain the fall-out of the explosion and evacuate residents. They are being blessed by Christ for their sacrifice, Who is above all and sovereign over all.
In the bottom centre is a tree which, because of its natural shape, was used by the Germans to hang opposition forces during the Second-World War. It became a small graveyard and memorial for those killed there, in the shadow of the Chernobyl nuclear plant. After the 1986 disaster it was poisoned and died.
The icon was blessed in the Kyiv Pecherska Lavra by His Beatitude Volodymyr on the 28th August, 2003, the Feast of the Dormition. At the moment of its blessing, a miraculous occurrence took place, witnessed by the thousands gathered. A dove flew over the icon and high in the sky, with no rain in sight, a rainbow appeared in the form of a nimbus. Then three crosses appeared, resplendent in the centre of the nimbus.
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 11:15)
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