A strong, sweet fragrance spreads throughout the whole church. Monk Mitrophan, inclining towards the icons, inhales the gentle aroma and expounds—the Life-giving Cross has a woody scent, reminiscent of sandalwood. From the icon of the Royal Martyrs a pure, clean fragrance—after all it is a genuine family of five children and their parents.
Every year thousands of pilgrims from the whole world come to the Astrakhan region to see the wonders of the Churkino Monastery—more than sixty myrrh-streaming icons. Now three new icons have begun to stream myrrh.
The Dormition of the Mother of God is painted on metal. It is considered the patronal feast—after all it was in the monastery when the magnificent Dormition cathedral was built. Now there is a memorial cross in honor of the ruined church. The story is interrupted—even on weekdays in the monastery there is a flow of one group of pilgrims after another.
“This is a sacred place. Our son is going into the first grade, and we came to show him the attractions, and the weeping icons. I don’t think they’re crying for no reason,” says pilgrim Oleg Kuznetsov.
In Oleg’s opinion it’s a special sign. The time has come to revive the famous monastery which at one time was on par with the famous Optina and Glinsk monasteries. Additionally, along the road they saw the church of the Three Holy Hierarchs in the village of Bolshoi Mogoi—even destruction and fire were unable to fully destroy the powerful stone walls around the beautiful church. Now pilgrims pray to the Mother of God and the saints for its restoration. Nevertheless, each turns to the myrrh-streaming icons with his own requests.
“We beseech, as all typical Christians, for health, prosperity, and happiness in the family. But, in principle, that it would be so not just in our family, but in all families,” shares pilgrim Elena Kuznetsova.
“Turning to the holy icons gives a person a nearness to God, as if a key, through which we can reach the Heavenly Kingdom. By turning to them we ask for that which we are lacking in life. The biggest thing all of us are lacking in life is love for God,” said novice Vladimir.
Here everyone receives consolation, begging for familial happiness, life companions and children. But most important—many pilgrims have already been assured of the healing effect of the myrrh-streaming icons. One woman was delivered from multiple sclerosis after praying and being anointed with miraculous, aromatic drops of myrrh, and this is far from the only case.
“One inhabitant of the monastery had a tubercular cavity in his lungs for a long time. I gave him oil mixed with the myrrh and told him to rub it on the area of the lung. They should have placed him with first class invalids, but he went to the doctors and they declared him healthy. They examined him, gathered a consultation, removed everything from his lungs, only adhesions remaining,” explains Monk Mitrophan.
Neither scientists nor clergy can say what this phenomenon is connected with. However, pilgrims and monks of the Churkino Monastery are sure that not only the ancient walls are being restored, but the human soul is renewed, reaching out in faith.
The phenomenon of myrrh-streaming icons in Churkino Monastery has been observed since June 2014. The first icons began to weep on June 22, the day of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War.