Icon of St. Olga: the meaning of what she is praying for?
"Root of Orthodoxy" is called in the people saintEqual-to-the-Apostles Princess Olga, whose icon from the 16th century became one of the most revered in Russia. She and her grandson, the holy prince Vladimir, with the light of the Christian faith expelled from the Dnieper shores the darkness of paganism, complementing each other, have become in our history the embodiment of a motherly and fatherly spiritual principle.
Bride of the Prince of Kiev
The oldest of the chronicles, bearing the name"The Tale of Bygone Years" is the first of the literary monuments that survive to us, mentioning the name of Princess Olga, this "spiritual mother of Russia", whose image is shown to us today, the icon that is kept in most churches. Saint Olga is represented in this document as the young bride of Prince Igor of Kiev
Tradition tells that she belonged tothe oldest family of princes Izborsk and born in 894 in the village of Vybuty, located not far from Pskov. In the same place, her first meeting with the future bridegroom also took place, which left in his heart the memory of a clean and chaste beauty living on the banks of the Velikaya River.
Bitterness of early widowhood
It was he who preferred all the other brides,who came to Kiev, when it was time to call his chosen one. And he made it his wife and Grand Duchess of Kievan Rus. But Olga was not given a long family happiness. As soon as their first-born Svyatoslav was born, as the young princess had suffered, Igor received a fierce death at the hands of the treacherous Drevlyans who inhabited those lands in the remote forest thickets.
The inconsolable widow was hurt and killed, butI do not want to grieve, but I have to raise my son, and now she is the ruler of the Russian land alone. All the worries of the state now lay on her women's shoulders. But first, in order to calm the soul, and to honor her husband's memory as it should, Olga planned to punish her husband's killers.
This is later, becoming a Christian, she beganthe teaching of true faith to pray for enemies and forgive offenses. Then she poured out on the murderers of her husband all the mad rage of a dark pagan. Twice enticed them to the embassy in Kiev, some ordered live to betray the land, and others to burn fire. And to get to the edge of watering the soul with enemy blood, moved their squads to the cities of Drevlyans, where the account of the murdered enemies went to thousands.
The ruler of Russia
No, this image does not show us today the templeicon. St. Olga will be born later from the font of Constantinople, and then before the tribes and peoples inhabiting Ancient Rus, appeared a strong and ruthless ruler, which showed the power worthy of an outstanding state husband. And with difficulty, but obeyed her subjects.
The wise princess of strengthening hercentralized power, dividing the territories under her control into "pogosts" - certain areas in which the voivode put, and each of them imposed a quitrent, which the armed units sent to collect. The very name of the "churchyard" is believed to have come from these very "guests" who never left empty-handed. It was unprofitable for people, but the treasury was in a prosperous state, and therefore the state benefited.
And guided by a strong hand of the wisethe ruler of Rus strengthened in every way. The economy developed, and at the same time new cities appeared. Every year the young prince Svyatoslav also grew up, and after reaching the appointed years he had to take over the government in his hands.
Care for the spiritual enlightenment of the people
Having before us an example of one of the most powerfulfor those times of the Byzantine states, Princess Olga understood that for the prosperity of the state it was not enough to worry about his economic well-being and military strength. She realized that only a community of spiritual life can bring together its inhabitants and become a reliable foundation for the formation of a nation.
The Lord helped her make the right choice, and,leaving the state in the care of his already grown-up son, Olga headed a large fleet to Constantinople to see firsthand the fruits of the earth brought by faith, and at the same time to resolve pressing diplomatic issues and demonstrate military power.
Spiritual birth in the holy font
In the Byzantine capital, the princess's imaginationstruck by the abundance of temples and the splendor of the services performed in them. She was fascinated listening to church singing and for the first time comprehended new concepts for her - confession, liturgy, cross and icon. St. Olga was baptized by the Patriarch of Constantinople Theophylactus, and at the time of the rite, the emperor Konstantin Bogororodny was his receptor.
On the performance of the sacrament the princess was given the nameElena, in honor of the holy mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, who received the Life-giving Cross of the Lord and became famous for the spread of true faith in the Roman state. Being likened to her, the newly baptized ruler of Russia, having returned to her homeland, became a preacher of Christianity in the lands under her control.
Pious works in the homeland
Home Princess Olga arrived with a lot of luggageicons and liturgical books. Several Orthodox priests also came to Russia with her, who were to turn to Kiev the Kievites, who worshiped idols till then. The command of Olga in Kiev on the grave of the first Christian prince Askold was erected the temple of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, in which was placed the icon brought from Constantinople.
The Holy Princess Olga did a lot of work forglorification of the Holy Trinity in Russia. There is a legend that near the native village on the bank of the Velikaya River she was honored to see three radiant rays coming down from the sky and at the same time predicted that a temple would be erected in that place in honor of the Most Holy Trinity and in due course zashumit large commercial city. She herself installed a worship cross on the shore and founded a temple that laid the foundation for the construction of Pskov.
In the very same Kiev, the wise rulerbuilt a temple of St. Sophia, which was consecrated in 960. His main shrine was the cross, which blessed her in holy baptism by the Patriarch of Constantinople. He was made from the Life-Creating Tree of the Lord, through him many miracles of healing were revealed.
Sincere grief of the princess
However, another hour of Rus did not break out of the darknesspaganism and illuminate the light of the Orthodox faith. The Chronicler reports that there were quite a few boyars and combatants in Kiev who hated the Wisdom of God, among them Prince Svyatoslav, who was already mature and matured by the time Olga's son.
No matter how her mother instructed her in true faith, hownor persuaded to receive baptism, he invariably continued to persist. However, those of those who approached Christ did not interfere in this and others did not allow them to mock them. Over time, the whole power passed to his son, and his pious mother gave herself up entirely to God's service and charity. Government affairs only dealt with in those days when Svyatoslav was on a campaign with his squad.
The Last Years of the Righteous
The last years of her life she spent in Kiev,raising grandchildren, among whom the future baptizer of Rus, Prince Vladimir, grew up. The pious grandmother instructed them in faith, told of the One God and how He created the heavens and the earth, but they did not dare to baptize them, fearing the anger of their pagan son.
Even a priest she had to hostsecretly. Her only joy was the prayer book and the icon. St. Olga until the last days did not cease to ask the Lord for the enlightenment of the Russian land. And the Almighty heeded to her entreaties, laying this great work upon her equal-to-be-grandson. The very righteous one called to Himself in 969.
Canonicalization and church-wide veneration
The canonization of the "head of faith in the land of the Russian"was performed at the cathedral of 1547. It also confirmed its universal reverence back in the pre-Mongol period. From this moment begins its history and its iconography. It is also important to note that in the whole history of Christianity among the six women, ranked equal to the apostles, this honor was also awarded to St. Olga.
Icon, the meaning of which becomes clear fromits very composition, represents the God's servant holding a cross in one hand, symbolizing faith, and in another the image of the temple is a symbol of her missionary work and the spread of Christianity on pagan lands. The same symbols can be seen in the icons of other bearers of faith, for example, the Equal-to-the-Apostles princess Tamara.
Icons, revered and beloved
Equal-to-the-Apostles princess Olga is honored asthe spiritual mother of the Russian people, since it is from this that it begins its formation on the path of the Christian faith. There are countless temples erected in her honor. For many centuries now people have been bowing to the honest image of the Equal-to-the-Apostles princess.
Do not run out of their flow in our days. Great veneration is enjoyed, for example, the icon of St. Olga in Moscow in the house church at the Pilgrim Center of the Moscow Patriarchate - the highest-altitude church in the capital. It is located on the fifteenth floor of the Universitetskaya Hotel, and opens its doors daily for hundreds of believers who come from all over the country.
It is known to many and the icon of St. Olga inSt. Petersburg, stored in a temple built in her honor, located in Strelna. This architectural monument, erected in the Mikhailovsky Park on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, always attracts many pilgrims and tourists. And all of them for a long time remembered the image of the princess, holding in her hand the cross, given to her by the Patriarch of Constantinople. This is the icon of St. Olga.
What are they praying for before this image?
It is commonly believed that the prayer before the iconEqual-to-the-Apostles Princess Olga helps believers find wisdom in everyday affairs and fills their hearts with the grace that is so necessary for everyone in our full anxieties and temptations of life. It is also customary to offer her prayers for strengthening Russia, for protecting from offenders and softening their hearts.
There are also cases when healing for the sufferingmental ills brought exactly the icon of St. Olga. What is the help of her holy image? It will be right to say that literally in everything, if only the prayer is pronounced from the depths of the heart and is filled with living faith. Under this condition, the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Princess Olga bows to our pleas and intercedes with God for their fulfillment.
It is also known that women named Olga,special patronage is exactly the icon of St. Olga. The photos presented in the article will help create an idea of the iconography of this image and how the masters of different eras saw it.