Virgin Hodegetria of Barkolabovo: The Guardian of the Eastern Lands

We all know such miraculous icons of Mother of God as Our Lady of Kazan, the Iviron Theotokos or Theotokos of Vladimir. But, probably, there is no such place where there would not be its own Patroness. According to some information, in Belarus alone there are 108 miraculous icons of the Most Holy Theotokos.

One of them is Virgin Hodegetria of Barkolabovo. Barkolabovo is a village in the east of Belarus half a mile away from which the Monastery of the Glorious Ascension is located.

The village itself, named after the captain of the Polish king Barkulab Korsak, became the cultural center of the Dnieper region with the well-known within the whole Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth library. The Belarusian magnate Bogdan Stetkevich and his wife decided to donate a part of the land (Borok’s plot of the land near the village of Barkolabovo) and money for the construction and maintenance of an Orthodox convent.  The construction was entrusted to Joel Trutsevich, the abbot of the Kuteinsky Convent in Orsha. The abbess for the Barkolabovsky Convent and its first nuns were selected from the same monastery. Both monasteries had to live by the same rules, helping each other and sharing their needs with one another.

Virgin Hodegetria of Barkolabovo

Returning from Poland, Duke Pozharsky, who had never parted himself with the icon of the Mother of God especially cherished by him, drove by the newly emerged monastery, which he had never seen. The duke secretly carried the icon of the Mother of God in the carts. When the troops passed by the monastery, and when the carts with the icon arrived at the holy gates, the icon turned impossible to move. The duke tried to move it with the help of young warriors and horses, but without success. Seeing this, the prince went to abbess Photinia Kirkorovna and said: “Take the icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, since the Mother of God wants to be here”. Then the abbess with the sisters took the icon with great reverence and left it in the middle of the church until the morning, wondering where to place it. Having come in the morning, the abbess and sisters found the icon on the right side of the altar, where it is placed by now.

Cross procession to the Barkolabovsky monastery

There are many testimonies about the miracles happened after the prayers to this icon of the Mother of God such as healings of various diseases and infertility (there are especially many of these). One of the known miracles took place during the attack of enemies in the war of 1812. The French who occupied the monastery and wanted to set the church on fire, putting brushwood around it. While several soldiers were inside the church robbing it. One of the warriors walked up to the wonderworking icon and extended his hand to tear off the precious bandage, but was thrown far to the side by invisible Divine power. The French left the church in fear, and all the troops were taken out of the monastery. Every year, on the eve of July 24th, pilgrims from different parts of the country perform Cross procession to the Barkolabovsky monastery to venerate the miraculous icon. My elder sister went to such Cross procession every year, and could not imagine that her husband would serve in the monastery as a priest, and she herself would be a teacher in a Sunday school.

Pilgrims from different places constantly visit the monastery. They turn to the Most Holy Theotokos with their prayers, and receive what they ask for by faith.

Daria Chechko

About the author

A philologist; an author and designer of St. Elisabeth Convent's website; a sister of mercy and a member of the Catalog of Good Deeds team.

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