The Miraculous Icon of Pochaiv


Icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv Enshrined in Apopka, Florida! 

The Pochaiv Mother of God Icon

For over a year now, when I can, I've been attending St. Mary Protectress Byzantine Catholic church in Apopka, Florida and I am awed with the beautiful Divine Liturgy (Mass) celebrated there by Father Ivan Kubishyn. Recently, Father Ivan enshrined a copy of the Miraculous Icon of Pochaiv in the church! Here is the News Release as it appeared in the local Catholic paper:

"My children, just as many of you came to this country from Ukraine, so
now with this icon I too have followed that same journey, to remind you
that I am always with you, as your mother and protectress." With these
tender words, Fr. Ivan Kubishyn attempted to express Our Lady's
sentiments, as he enshrined the new icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv last
Sunday, after bringing it from Ukraine to his small Ukrainian Catholic
parish church in Apopka back in September.

"This church has always been dedicated to the Mother of God as our
Protectress," Fr. Ivan explained, "but it only had copies of the
traditional Greek icon of Our Lady's Protection. This icon of Our Lady
of Pochaiv is honored throughout Ukraine, and our people feel especially
close to her under this title." The original Pochaiv icon dates from
the 13th century, and has survived attacks from Tatars, Turks, and more
recently, from Communists. The shrine of Pochaiv, which had been turned
into a warehouse under the Soviet regime, is now once again a major
pilgrimage site, receiving thousands of pilgrims each year to honor the
Mother of God and seek her protection.

The blessing of the icon, which included a generous sprinkling of holy
water on the icon and on the people, was followed by the usual Sunday
Liturgy at 11:00. The Mass was almost entirely in Ukrainian, except for
the Gospel and Epistle readings and the prayers before Communion, which were all repeated in English. After Communion, however, Fr. Ivan
attempted to break the language barrier, and we heard him say in
English, "Having received the heavenly, immaculate, life-giving and
awesome mysteries of Christ, let us rightly give thanks to the
Lord."--quite a mouthful for someone who is just learning English!

"We've had English Liturgies at this parish before," Fr. Ivan explained,
"and I want to continue that. My English is not good, but it is getting
better." He wouldn't give a date for when he would start, but promised
it would be some time next year. "I'll let you know!" (There is now a Divine Liturgy in English celebrated every Saturday evening at 5 P.M.)

It is worth mentioning that the Byzantine-Rite Liturgy at St. Mary's is
quite beautiful. Not only is it almost entirely chanted, but a
surprising number of the people participate, with some even singing
harmony. Sub-deacon Richard Wilhelm pointed out, "there are at least
three people here who speak no Ukrainian at all. They have come to love
this Liturgy and are comfortable with it, even without understanding the
language." He added, "In fact, Pope John Paul has encouraged all
Catholics to become familiar with the Byzantine Rite, which is part of
the heritage of the entire Catholic Church. We certainly welcome any
Roman Catholics who would like to visit us and worship with us." (The late Holy Father said the Church has two lungs, East and West!)

This enshrining of the icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv was one of a number
of things Fr. Ivan had planned for the parish of St. Mary, Protectress
( when he assumed the duties of pastor in April of 2003, and he is happy to have accomplished it. He built the alcove for the icon himself--a handsome job, at that--and
remarked, "in Ukraine I could have gotten the lumber for this project
for about $10, while here it cost nearly $400!"

Fr. Ivan & Sub-deacon Richard enshrine Icon of Our Lady


Prayer to the Mother of God

O Most Holy Sovereign Lady and Mother of God, powerful to all good, receive from your unworthy servants this praiseworthy hymn, which is due to you alone, for you have been chosen from among the human race and are higher than all celestial and earthly creatures. For through you, our Almighty Lord has dwelt among us; through you we have come to know the Son of God and are honored to have His Holy Body and Most Precious Blood. Thus you are blessed among all generations.

     You are higher in honor than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim. O All Honorable and Most Holy Mother of God, do not cease to pray for us today, your unworthy servants, so that we be protected against the craftiness of the evil one and from his greediness and that we be delivered unharmed from the deadly temptations of the devil. Protect us with your prayer until the end of our life before the eternal judgment, that we, being saved through your intercession and help, might give glory, praise, thanksgiving and honor for all, to the Holy Trinity, One God and Creator of all creatures now and always and forever. Amen.