The Zhirovits Icon of the Mother of God (Жировицкая икона Божией Матери) is a wonder-working Icon which literally appeared in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania during the 15th century, nestled among the branches of a pear-tree. A source of miracles from the beginning, it survived fire, being stolen by Roman Catholic monks, and the approaching German forces during World War One. It found its final resting place in the very Monastery it came from, returned from Moscow in the 1920’s by Patriarch Tikhon, who hid the Icon in a pot of jam to prevent it falling into the hands of the iconoclastic Communist Bolsheviks who ruled Russia at the time.
Now set in an elaborate golden frame, the original icon itself is only small, carved in coloured stone, weathered over the centuries but still recognizable as the Mother of God “Hodigitria“, directing us to Christ in her arms.
The feast day of the Icon is May 7 (May 20 according to the Gregorian calendar) A fuller account of the Icon’s history can be found here.