Assuage My Sorrows icon
Mother of God Assuage  My Sorrows is the name of a wonderworking icon treasured in the Church of St. Nikolaev Odrin Monastery in Karachev, Orlov province and copies of this icon are to be found in churches all over Moscow.
The Mother of God is depicted with a hand bending toward her head and with the Child holding a scroll in both hands directly sitting on her left hand. On the scroll are the words:
"Judge righteously; each show mercy to one another; do not offend widows and orphans, and do not keep malice in your heart towards your brother."
The origins of this icon can be traced back to a battle in Shklova, in the Mogilev Province, during 1640; it is not known who painted the original icon carrying the name "Assuage My Sorrows" although it is presumed that it is was brought to Russia from a Russian Monastery from Mount Athos. During the reign of Tsar Michael Fydorovich (1613-1645) a great battle took place, near Shklova, in which the Russians defeated the Poles. In honour of this defeat a copy of the miracle-working image was translated by the Cossacks to Moscow and placed in the Church of St. Nicholas in Zamoskovorechie  in the Pupishevo district of Moscow.
Tradition relates that the first time this icon was glorified was in the second half of the 18th century. The miraculous power was revealed through a certain woman who had been suffering from a weakness in her hands and feet. Physicians were not able to help her with her ailment and in a vision, she was told to go to Moscow and pray before the icon of the Mother of God bearing the inscription "Assuage my Sorrows;" in the same vision, she was shown the icon. Not finding that icon in the church, she turned to the priest for help, who then brought all of the ancient icons down from the bell-tower. One of the icons bore the inscription "Assuage my Sorrows." As soon as the woman saw the icon, she exclaimed: “It is she! It is she!” After a moleben, the ailing woman felt so much stronger that she was able to stand and leave the church unaided.
This miracle occurred on January 25 (Julian Calendar), 1760. Since then, a Feast day in honor of the "Assuage my Sorrows" icon has been observed. In the Church of St Nicholas, the icon was installed in an appropriate place, and an altar was dedicated in its honor.
From all over the city, the faithful and suffering came to Zamoskovorechie to bow down before the newly-revealed icon, and God’s power was revealed in many other miracles. An especially great number of miracles happened during the plague epidemic of 1771. Many copies of the miraculous icon were made and distributed throughout all Russia; in Moscow alone, four other icons bearing the same name were glorified by miracles.
- Troparion (Tone 5)
Soothe the pains of my much-sighing soul, O thou who hast wiped away every tear from the face of the earth: For thou dost drive away the sickness of men, And quench the afflictions of sinners. We have obtained hope and support in thee, O most holy Virgin.
- Kontakion (Tone 6)
O holy Lady, do not entrust me to human protection, but accept the prayers of thy supplicant. I am fettered by sorrow and unable to endure the demon's darts. I have no shelter, nor place to run, I am wretched. My enemies are on every side, And I have no consolation but in thee. Mistress of creation, protection and hope of the faithful, Do not turn away when I pray to thee; do that which will profit me.
O my All-gracious Queen Theotokos, my hope, who befriends orphans, and intercedes for strangers, Joy of those who sorrow, Protectress of those offended, look upon my troubles and see my sorrow: help me for I am weak, guide me for I am wandering: for you know my offense, resolve it as you will: for I have no other help than you, no other intercessor nor good comforter, only you, O Mother of God, may keep and protect me, unto ages of ages. Amen.
- Assuage (Wictionary) –verb (used with object), 1. to make milder or less severe; relieve; ease; mitigate: to assuage one's grief; to assuage one's pain. 2. to appease; satisfy; allay; relieve: to assuage one's hunger. 3. to soothe, calm, or mollify
- There is a special "Service with Akathistos to the All-Holy Theotokos, Assuage My Sorrow", a publication of the Kievan Monastery of the Caves printing house, 1888. (Reference Sobranie mneniy i otziv [Collection of Opinions and Responses], Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow, vol. V., pages 391-4, about the first edition of this service)
- This church has since been demolished and no longer exists
- Her icons that have names like “The Joy of All who Sorrow” (“Vsekh Skorbiashchikh Radost”), “Ease my Sorrows” (“Utoli moia pechali”), “Intercessor of Sinners” (“Sporuchnitsa greshnykh”), “Comfort in Griefs and Sorrows” (“V skorbiakh i Pechaliakh Uteshenie”).
Source of Information
Most of the content for this article was extracted from the "Assuage My Sorrows" article on the St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Washington DC website.