Commemorated on September 11
At the end of the XVII century, 20 versts from the city of Akhtyrka, in Kharkov province, in the village of Kaplunovka, on the Khukhra River, lived a pious priest, Father John Umanov. On September 11, 1689 a wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God was given to him.
On September 8, the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, he saw an Elder in a dream who told him that in three days three iconographers would come to him: one in his seventies, another in his eighties, and the third in his nineties. The Elder ordered Father John to take a stack of icons from the oldest of the three, then return the first seven to him, and keep the eighth one, which would be a copy of the Kazan icon (July 8). In return, he promised the priest that he would obtain mercy and grace from the Mother of God.
After this dream, Father John fasted and served the Liturgy for three days. On the third day, as he was returning home from church, he saw three old iconographers walking toward him. He invited them to his home and welcomed them cordially, then the oldest iconographer took several icons from his pack, and the eighth, as predicted in his dream, was a copy of the Kazan Icon. The iconographers wanted to give him the Icon for free, but they agreed to take 15 kopecks for it. After that, they continued on their way.
Father Umanov put the Icon in his room and kept a lit candle before it day and night. On the eve of the third Sunday he saw a Virgin of extraordinary beauty in a dream, who touched his hand, said to him: “Priest John, do not keep me in your home, but take me to my church.”
The church in Kaplunovka was dedicated to the Nativity of the Mother of God. When Father John awakened, his cell was illumined by a bright light. When he approached the Icon he noticed that from the eyes on the Mother of God’s face, tears were streaming down the board. Immediately, he summoned some respected parishioners, and told them about the Icon and the events of the previous night. After he served a Moleben, the Icon was solemnly transferred to the church, where it became renowned for its miracles. The Icon began to be called Kaplunovskaya, from the name of the village.
A certain woman named Paraskevḗ, who was possessed by demons, heard about this miracle, and with faith she ran to the church and asked the priest to chant a Moleben for her health before the Icon of the Mother of God, and she was freed from the power of the devil. Feeling that she was her normal self, she thanked God and her Intercessor, the Most Holy Theotokos.
Father John served in the village for a long time after these events, and was consoled by the ever-increasing glory of the Icon. He also had the joy of seeing the national prominence that the Icon received during Charles XII’s war with Peter the Great.
When the Swedish King Charles XII invaded Little Russia with his troops, Peter sought heavenly help, since he was going to meet him. He summoned Father John to Kharkov with the Kaplunovka Icon, which he kept with the army. Meanwhile, Charles and Ivan Mazepa reached Kaplunovka and stayed there to rest, occupying Father John’s house. Several of the soldiers wanted to set fire to the church, but the wood they piled around the temple did not catch fire. Charles saw all this from the window and asked Mazepa for an explanation of why the soldiers could not burn the church. Mazepa said that it was probably guarded by the Mother of God, since her wonderworking Icon was located there. The Swedish King ordered them to bring to one of the residents of Kaplunovka to him. They found a man in the woods, and Charles began to ask him where Peter and his troops were. The man said that he was in Kharkov. Then Charles asked where the Icon of the Mother of God was. When he heard that it had been taken to the army, he told Mazepa, “If we could not set fire to the church when the Icon was not here, it is likely to be very bad for us when and where it is present.”
Before the Battle of Poltava started, Peter ordered the Kaplunovka Icon to be carried past the ranks of the Russian army, and he prayed with tears before the Icon. Then, after the battle, Father John was summoned to Moscow with the Icon and from there he was sent home with the shrine. Peter made a silver gilt riza with precious stones for the Icon, and a silver icon case (kivot).
On June 14, 2020, the wonderworking Kaplunovka Icon of the Mother of God was donated to the Patriarchal Cathedral in honor of the Resurrection of Christ – the main temple of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
The Kaplunovka Icon is also commemorated on July 8, the Feast Day of the Kazan Icon.