Our Lady of Kazan, Patroness of Russia
In the 1200s, a holy icon of the Virgin and Child were brought from Constantinople to Kazan. When the Tartars seized Kazan in 1438, the miraculous icon was was hidden, but no one remember where it had been hidden.
In July of 1579, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a little girl named Matrona and revealed to her a location in which she would find an ancient icon. The local bishop would not believe her. On July 8 1579 in the town of Kazan, little Matrona and her mother dug up the miraculous icon of Jesus and Mary. The bishop recognized it as the true icons and miracles began to occur in conjunction with it. Subsequently, a Russian Orthodox monastery was built to commemorate the location of Matrona's discovery of the icon. The icon was enshrined inside until 1904. Copies of the famous icon were venerated in both Moscow and St Petersberg making it the most beloved image of Christ and Mary in Russia.
Russians sought the intercession of Mary under this title "Our Lady of Kazan" during Napolean's Russian invasion of 1812 and they credited her for their deliverance.
But on June 29 (Feast of St Peter and St Paul) of 1904, the icon was stolen from the church for its precious golden frame. Russian authorities reclaimed the golden frame, but the icon was lost.
The desecration and disappearance of Our Lady of Kazan was seen by some Russians as an ominous sign that Our Lady's protection had been removed from Russia. The desecration of the icon were perceived as being related to the Russian revolution of 1905 and to their defeat in the Russo-Japenese War.
After the Communist Revolution of 1917, there was an increased interest in finding the lost icon of Our Lady of Kazan.
Notably, Our Lady of Fatima in 1917 asked that the Pope and all the world's bishops with him would consecrate the nation of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. There is something mystical occurring during this time regarding the vocation of the Russian people. Our Lady warned that if her message were ignored, then Russia would spread her errors throughout the world: socialism, atheism, feminism, humanism, secularism, abortion, etc.
In the 1970s, the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima acquired an icon reputed to be the original icon of Our Lady of Kazan. They enshrined it at Fatima. The icon was later given to Pope John Paul II in 1983. The Holy Father privately venerated the sacred image in his personal study. On August 26, 2004 Pope John Paul II had the icon delivered to the Russian Orthodox Church as a sign of good will. This icon is now venerated in Kazan near the site of the original church that housed it. By the way, that original church was destroyed by the communists.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.