Today we will look at a Marian icon type suggested by a reader curious about its inscriptions.
The main inscriptions (aside from the usual abbreviations for “Mother of God” and “Jesus Christ”) are unusual in that they rhyme, forming a rather odd poem — but of course they do not rhyme in English. Here is a very loose translation of those inscriptions, as well as the originals, for those who may wish to make a more literal translation:
Very-well chosen Mary, the bride,
Prayer to her leads one to the good place.
O sweetest Jesus my savior,
Grant that I may always be your lover.
Преизбранная Маріа невѣста
Молящимся ей даетъ в пользу мѣста.
О пресладчайшій Христе мой спаситель
Даждь мнѣ да буду присно твой любитель.
With your ruling scepter Mother everywhere
Guide me that I may stand before you
Of this the Mother with the Son converses
That all believers may inherit Heaven.
Скиптро начальствой мати повсюду
Управляи мя да при тебе буду
Мати съ сыномъ о томъ бесѣдуетъ
Да всякій верный въ небе царство наслѣдуетъ,
With the son, the mother in blessing
Protects people, directing them to Heaven.
С сыномъ мати в благодати
Людей сохраняютъ въ небе оуправляют.
Beautiful as the moon, Virgin
Sweet-sounding [musical] string.
Красна яко луна дева
Доброгласна струна Мария
Contemplate now the virgin and Mother with the Son
Turn mind and heart to them, people.
That is what Christ God desires from us;
Mary the Virgin will help us with that.
Зде деву и матерь съ сыномъ созерцати
умъ и сердце ним моди обращати
Зане Христосъ Богу от насъ то желает
Мария дева въ томъ намъ помогает
Birth-giver of God, most holy Virgin
Save me from evil and give us all good
Who keeps all creatures
In his hand
Keep me in purity
Unto Heavenly rest.
Богородице дево пресвятая
Спаси мя от бедъ и дажд намъ всемъ благая
Содержай тварь всякую
Держи мя въ чистоти
Къ небесному покою
Радуися богоневесто жезле таины цветъ неувядаемый процветший
Rejoice, bride of God, mystic rod, blossoming with the unfading flower
There is some confusion about just how far back this image goes, but the image as it is generally depicted was painted in 1765 by a monk (or priest) named Evfimiy, at the Savior Cholnskiy Monastery in the town of Trubchev, in what was then Orel Province — thus the title of this icon type. It is said to have first come to notice at the end of the 18th century, when it was carried in procession and credited with ending a cholera epidemic, and so became considered “miracle-working.”
Under the Communist regime, the icon was carelessly treated when placed in a local history museum, but was “rediscovered” in 1994.
The icon was in rather bad condition:
It is said to have since been restored.