15 Days 15 Icons — Mother of God Sokolsky
This weeping icon of the Most Holy Theotokos was in the church of the Theological Academy at the Sokolsky Monastery in Romania.
After Divine Liturgy on February 1, 1854, tears were observed on this icon. Bishop Philaret (Skriban), the rector of the seminary, took the icon from its frame in order to examine it. After wiping the tears from the icon with a cloth, he put it back in the frame. The bishop asked everyone to leave the church, then locked the doors. Later, when he returned to the church for Vespers with the students and teachers, tears were flowing from the icon once again. In a short time, news of the miracle spread throughout Romania, and pilgrims flocked to the monastery to venerate the icon.
Reports of the weeping Sokolsky Icon also spread to Russia, and some people believe that the weeping icon mentioned in Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” (Chapter 11) could have been based on the Sokolsky Icon.
Tears continued to flow from the icon each day, or sometimes at intervals of two, three, or four days. Many people witnessed the icon weeping, or at least they saw the traces of the tears, and were convinced that a genuine miracle was taking place.
During the Crimean War (1854-1856), the commanding officer of the Austrian army heard about the Sokolsky Icon and sent a colonel to investigate. The astonished colonel actually saw the icon weeping himself.
Thirty-five years after the icon began weeping, Bishop Melchizedek (one of the first witnesses of the miracle), recalled how he had speculated about the reason for its tears. He knew that weeping icons had appeared at various times and places before this, and that such events always seemed to foretell approaching calamity for the Church or the country.
The bishop’s observation proved correct in the case of Romania’s Sokolsky Icon. Austrian soldiers occupied the district of Moldavia during the Crimean War, causing great hardship for its inhabitants. The Sokolsky Monastery, a center of spiritual life for a hundred years, was suppressed and its monks were scattered. The seminary, along with the Sokolsky Icon, was moved to another, unknown location.