Today, July 8th, is the Celebration of the Appearance of the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos
In Kazan Russia in 1569, now Tartarsan Russia, the nine-year old Matrona, whose parents’ home had burned down in a fire, had a dream in which she beheld an icon of the Theotokos and heard a voice commanding her to recover this icon from the ashes of the ruined house. The icon was found wrapped in an old piece of cloth under the stove, where it may have been hidden during the Tartar invasions. The icon was finally brought to the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Theotokos, where it became renowned for the healings that the Mother of God wrought through it for the blind; hence the custom of praying before this holy icon for help in blindness and eye diseases.
Tsar Ivan the Terrible had a convent built at the place of the icon’s discovery; this, however, was destroyed by the Bolsheviks after the Revolution, and a factory was built in its stead. The feast was established in 1595. The icon of Kazan is one of the most beloved icons of the Mother of God in Russia.
Matrona, btw, is originally a Latin name meaning Lady, & widely used in Russia. It is similar to Madonna which is used in Italy, for girls honoring the Theotokos.
Apolytikion of Icon of the Theotokos of Kazan in the Fourth Tone
O Fervent intercessor, Mother of the Lord Most High, thou prayest for all to thy Son, Christ our God, and thou causest all to be saved who have recourse to thy powerful protection.
O Sovereign Lady and Queen, help and defend all of us who in troubles and trials, in pain and burdened with many sins, stand before thy most pure icon in thy presence, and pray to thee with compunction of soul, contrition of heart, and with tears, and who have unflagging hope in thee.
Grant to all what is good for us, deliverance from all evil, and save us all, O Virgin Theotokos, for thou art a divine protection to thy servants.