Icon of Protection of the Mother of God Written for Jubilee of Eparchy

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During the Jubilee observations throughout St Nicholas Eparchy from June 4, this year in Detroit through concluding ceremonies, December 6, next year, in Chicago, a constant item will be present--to emphasize the unity of the people in dependence upon the Protection of the Mother of God. This special image written for the 50th Jubilee of the Eparchy of St Nicholas  

is from the hand of Fr Damian Higgins, a priest of the eparchy, and has significance for all who view it with eyes of faith.

Following directives of His Grace, Bishop RICHARD (Seminack), the design for the icon was chosen from the prototypes of the Protection of the Mother of God. In this icon her particular Protection over the Cathedral Church--depicted at the bottom of the icon--is apparent.

Bishop Richard blessed the icon at opening ceremonies in the eastern-most part of the eparchy. From there the holy image will be on a pilgrimage across the width and depth of the eparchy before being returned to the Midwest to be enshrined in Chicago for St Nicholas Day ceremonies next year.
Participants of the various eparchy-wide celebrations will have the opportunity to venerate the image and be presented a copy for personal use.

As a basis for appreciating it, it might be well to know that wood of the icon is tiger oak. It is from a one hundred-fifty-year-old board that was once part of a piece of fur- niture in Augusta, Georgia. The wood was prepared for sacred use by being soaked in skin glues and wrapped with an old altar linen received from the Sisters of St Basil the Great in Fox Chase Manor, Pennsylvania. The linen surface was then gessoed (covered with a mixture of crushed marble and glues from animal hides) to be ready for the elaborate process.

The technique used to create the icon employs egg tempera (a base of egg yolks and natural pigments taken from the earth). Further, the icon was leafed with 23K gold and the crown of the Theotokos includes donated gems of diamonds, opals, pearls, crystals and garnets.

The Theotokos has her arms outstretched with a veil and is being crowned by two golden angels.

The icon is presented in a case protected by a wooden cover with a cross created and donated by Zenon G Korytko, a native of Ukraine working in Tucson, Arizona. The towel/scarf was created and donated by a premier craftswoman from the Ukrainian Catholic parish of St. Stephen in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Truly the presence of this icon is to be an inspiration for all who venerate it to utter the ageless words of praise and supplication taken from the services of our prayer-life: "Most Holy Mother of God, Save Us!"

50th Jubilee of the Saint Nicholas Eparchy:
+ Richard Stephen asks us to pray.

The Patronage of the Mother of God “O most pure Mother of God, You are a mighty defender of those in sorrow. You are a ready help to those in trouble. Through You salvation comes into the world, o Godbearer. You are the depth of mercy, the fount of God’s wisdom and the protectress of the world. O faithful, let us praise Her glorious protection, saying: Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with You, and through You He grants great mercy to the world.” Protect the faithful of the St. Nicholas Eparchy and guide us all to Your Only Begotten Son, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Most Blessed Lady, we come to You, though the prayers of our patron Saint Nicholas, and ask for Your Protection against all evil. Amen.

The Schedule of the Traveling Icon
The icon blessed by Bishop Richard in Detroit will remain in that deanery until each of the parishes is visited by August 1. The icon will then be transferred to the other deaneries according to this general schedule:

This is the plan for subsequent visitation of the icon to each of the other deaneries:

  • August 8 through October 10, 2010; North/Central. Minneapolis is the Host City for this deanery.
  • October 17, 2010 through June 26, 2011; South/West Deanery. Los Angeles is the Host City.
  • July 3, 2011 through September 4, 2011; Chicago Deanery.
  • After all parishes have been visited, the schedule for Major Celebrations at the Cathedral will be announced.
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