Alaskan icon remains a treasure after 165 years.
In the mid-19th century the workers of the Russian American Company pooled their meager wages and purchased an icon for the new Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel in Sitka, Alaska. Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky, a noted iconographer, wrote the icon and in 1850 it was presented to the Cathedral as a gift..
While the icon is written in the more 'Western' style of the period, the gentle and peaceful gaze of the Theotokos is striking. The icon was later covered in a riza (a precious metal covering that protects the most of the icon).
In 1966 a fire at a nearby store spread to the old cathedral but 100 people formed a 'human chain' and removed the icon and most of the other icons and funishings before the structure was destroyed. A new cathedral now houses the icon.
Our Lady of Sitka has taken many pigrimages and has blessed the faithful with miracles throughout its history.
O Mother of God, chosen from all generations to be the protectress of the Christian people; / We offer you songs of thanksgiving for your wonderworking Icon that has come to Alaska. / You are a fountain of mercy and help all who seek refuge in you. / Defend us in all afflictions, necessities and tribulations that we may cry to you: / Rejoice, zealous defender of the Orthodox faithful in America.
**Pictures #2 and #3 above from tripadvisor.com
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