Trip of an Icon
The Pühtitsa icon of the Assumption of the Mother of God was a popular object of pilgrimage in the Baltic provinces: its feast day on 15 August attracted thousands to the Pühtitsa convent. The convent also dispatched the icon on an annual tour around other towns and villages in eastern Estland province. Here we provide a poem by the deacon K. Petrov about the icon’s arrival at the holiday resort of Narva-Jõesuu (Ust-Narov/Hungerburg) in 1903.
It was a bright, hot summer day
At the spa there are cottagers beyond count
The pine forest in cool shade
Unwillingly beckons all.
Everyone hunts here to breathe in the quiet
And walk around the woods or on the coast:
Do not even look for people in their homes
They all use the summer as they want.
But no! Not all: a crowd of people
Densely surround the local church
All wait for something: around the parish
A peal rings out happily
A cross procession leaves the church.
All the people move as a crowd.
Here are paupers, men, ladies.
Rich, healthy, and ill
Animation on their faces
To the jetty all go to meet
That icon which comfort
Gives, like a loving Mother.
It is already the third year since permission
The Synod gave to us: once a year
Our mistress to us in solace
Comes as an icon to our parish.
The jetty is black with people
And the cross process can barely enter
To meet the icon from the steamer.
Which from Narva to Gungerburg came.
The soul trembles in affection:
The icon is seen on deck
In the hands of a sister, and with humility
People meet the Mother of Christ
Two priests from the steamer
Take the icon from the sister
And before the faces of all the people
Carefully bear the icon to shore
Here they raise the icon high
And they overshadow the people with it
All the people bow their heads
The cross procession goes back.
Along the road of the procession
Bowing on their knees to the ground
Are the people. The Queen of Heaven
Comes to us with them, for all the autumn.
The people enter the church with humility
The icon enters before a crowd
The priests with reverence
Await its arrival.
Three days the Queen is in the village
Dwelling among her children
And many of their prayers
Are offered tearfully before her.
Some thirst for cures
From this icon for themselves.
Others in their home with humility
Await her visit;
They meet her with joy and they themselves
Carry her into their homes
From affection the ladies cry:
“The Queen herself comes.”
Two were fully cured
By this Pühtitsa icon.
And thus all the village
Venerates before her.
Queen! Accept prayers
From us sinning, weak people
For heaven the village is prepared
But do not leave us in this life.
Source: K. Petrov, ‘Vspominanie o prebyvanii Piukhtitskoi Chudotvornoi ikony Uspeniia Bozhiei Materi v Ust-Narove (Gungerburg) v 1903 godu’, Rizhskie eparkhial’nye vedomosti (no. 1), 1904: 17-20.