Orthodox Wonder Working Icons: Bialynitchy, Belarus, 2014, 31.1g

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The next coin from The “Orthodox Wonder-working icons” – series issued by the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus. Legend has it that the icon of the Theotokos of Bialynichy was brought into the territory of modern Belarus by monks fleeing from the invasion of Khan Baty. On a hill near the river Drut they founded the church of St Elijah the Prophet and the monastery. Already on the first night at the selected place the icon began to emanate an unusual light. The miracle repeated in subsequent nights, which became white from the light originating from the icon. In memory of this miracle the place where the monastery was founded has been called White Nights, or Bialynichy. Since 1634, the Icon of Bialynichy has been in Carmelite Monastery of Bialynichy founded in 1624 by Lev Sapieha, Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. According to the local legend, after long prayers of monastery brotherhood the icon was written by the angel-painter, who came to the monastery under the pretence of a pilgrim. In the opinion of researchers, it was painted in 1634 by an unknown master. In 1655, the Icon of Bialynichy was moved to the fortress of Lyakhovichi and, according to the contemporaries, helped its garrison to sustain a three-month siege of the troops of the Russian Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich led by Ivan A. Khavansky. After the war of Moscow State with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1654-1667) the icon was returned to Carmelite Monastery of Bialynichy. In 1755, the commission sent by the Vilna Catholic Bishop Mikhail Zenkovich recognized the icon to be miraculous, and on October 20, 1761 the coronation thereof was held. The gold crowns with arms of the Sapieha and Oginski families were made at the expense of the aristocratic families. In 1832, Carmelite Monastery of Bialynichy, and in 1876 the catholic church were abolished. The monasterial buildings were assigned to the Orthodox St. Nicholas Monastery. The icon of Bialynichy remained in the temple at the same place and was equally revered by the Orthodox Christians and Catholics. In the1930s, after closing the church of Bialynichy the icon, to some accounts, was transferred to the Mogilev Regional Museum, but its further fate is unknown. It is considered to be missed in 1941, along with other museum’s values. As relates to the icon’s significance, the contemporaries compared it with the icon of the Theotokos of Czestochowa. It is known that at the end of the 19th century up to 10,000 pilgrims came annually to worship the miraculous image. In front of the icon of Our Lady one prays for the healing of diseases, for comfort in sorrow. The celebration in honor of the icon of Bialynichy is committed on April 25 (April 12 O.S.). P.A. Zharov Icon painter, Minsk Diocesan Administratio

Obverse
An ornament in the form of the grapevine symbolizing the Theotokos, in the centre a cross erected in the territory of Zaslavl’s stronghold to commemorate the thousandth anniversary of the Orthodox Church in Belarus; at the top – coat of arms of the Republic of Belarus; inscriptions in Belorussian language “Republic of Belarus”, “20 roubles” a well as “2014” and the hallmark – “Ag 925”.

Reverse
The image of the Most Holy Theotokos of Bialynitchy (the representations of the Theotokos’s and Jesus Christ’s halos, angels and some other elements gold plated). Inscription at the bottom: “Bialynitskaya” (in Belorussian).

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