Today we celebrate the appearance of the Tikhvin Icon, one of the most revered icons of the Theotokos. As many of you certainly know, this icon was brought to the United States by Bishop John (Garklavs) of Riga in 1949, and later guarded by his adopted son, Fr Sergei Garklavs, who served at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago. The icon was returned to Russia fours years ago after a year-long journey through churches in North America and Russia, during which time I had the great blessing of venerating it at the St Nicholas Cathedral in New York City. The icon is now enshrined at the Tikhvin-Dormition Monastery in Tikhvin, its historic home.
This photograph shows a procession with the Tikhvin Icon as it passes the Kremlin towers on its way to Red Square in Moscow, June 27, 2004. Over 250,000 faithful were in attendance.