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The Lavra of Barkulabovo (in Russian ‘lavra’ stands for a monastery of the highest rank) used to be known all over Europe. Today it is known as a nunnery in the town of Barkolabovo 8 miles north of Bykhov, established in 1623 by Bogdan Stetkevich.

The cathedral behind the walls of the monastery used to be home of the miracle-working icon of Godmother, which was presented to the monastery as a gift by Prince Pozharski on his way back from Lithuania to Russia.

As the legend goes, the icon was hidden in a military transport wagon. When the troops led by Prince Pozharski were passing the monastery, the icon would become “immobile” and there was nothing they could do to make it move. Wasting much effort, Pozharski soon realised the icon was willing to stay in the monastery, so they presented it to Mother Superior Fotinia Kirkorovna.

Although the icon was seated in an Orthodox Christian monastery, Christians representing all kinds of churches would come by to worship the holy image of Godmother.

The miracle-working icon has survived through all wars and upheavals of the 17-20th centuries, including the Soviet ban of religious practices.

The icon appears to be one of the most respected images of Godmother in Eastern Belarus.

Scientists have estimated the icon was made in the late 16th or early 17th century, probably in Slutsk or Chernihiv (which now in Ukraine).

Unfortunately, the icon’s silver frame incrusted with jewels and purls was lost for good.

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