THE OZERYANSKYA ICON OF THE MOTHER OF GOD dates to the end of the 17th century. A farmer was mowing a summer field with a scythe when he heard a human groan and found an icon of the Mother of God split in two on the ground. He took the halves to his home, lit a candle and prayed before the pieces which he had placed among his other icons. The next day, the icon having disappeared from his home, he returned to the field and found the icon spliced together with only a thin scar indicating where the cut had occurred.
Soon the icon became notable as wonder-working and a chapel within a monastic complex was built to which people in need began to pilgrim. In 1930 the icon was destroyed by the Soviets and the monks dispersed who had become its custodians.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the monastic property has been returned to the Church and the Monastery of the Holy Cross is being revived. A new icon of the Mother of God Ozeryanskaya has been written (painted) and pilgrims are returning. The Mother of Jesus is sought out as an intercessor of those with serious diseases, especially "where medicine is powerless." In the west we might say, hopeless cases. Many pray before the icon in hope of healing where there are serious injuries, bone breaks and fractures.
In this icon the Mother of God is decorated very beautifully. Both she and her Son wear crowns - the gift of love from us. Halos indicate the illumination of their thoughts, knowledge and insights. Jesus sits as teaching-Lord, supported on the left arm of his Mother. In humility, with her right hand, she indicates Jesus. He blesses us and holds the little gospel book he hopes we will open.
We're told the Ozeryanskaya's specialty is broken bones. But as we come before the icon with physical complaints, perhaps all the more we should fly to her asking for the healing of broken hearts, broken trust, the healing of broken or fractured relationships - marriages, friendships and family unity. We might go to her where countries, parishes and local communities need healing, where we feel divided, hypocritical or at odds within ourselves - wherever we need help putting life back together.