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The Tartars Besiege the Church of Kiev

Hugh O'Riley
St. Hyacinth had just completed a magnificent church at Kiev, which he dedicated to the Most Holy Mother of God. One day as he had just finished the celebration of Holy Mass, it was announced to him that the Tartars, the most implacable enemies of the Christian name, had reached the walls of the town, and were endeavoring to force an entrance.

kiev

The Tartars Siege of Kiev, 1240

Full of confidence in God, the Saint reverently opened the Tabernacle, and, taking out the Ciborium, he concealed it under his tunic near his heart; then, turning towards the religious and people who were standing around him trembling with fear, he said to them: “Follow me, my brethren and children, and be not afraid.”

But as he drew near the door of the church he heard a loud voice which cried out: “Hyacinth, Hyacinth!” He stood and looked all around, but could see no one, so he turned to continue on his way. Immediately he heard the same voice again saying the same words.

Once more he looked behind him, and, to his great astonishment and that of all those who accompanied him, he perceived that it came from the statue of Our Lady, which was placed on an altar near the center of the church. It was made of alabaster, and exceedingly heavy.

“My beloved Hyacinth,” the great Queen said,” is it thus you are about to deliver my Son from the hands of the barbarians, and to leave His Mother to their impious insults?” The Saint answered that it was impossible for him who was so weak to carry a burden that was so heavy. Then, Our Lady said: “If you had a little more faith and a little more love for me, it would be very easy for you to carry it.”

“I desire nothing so much as to possess that love and confidence," replied St. Hyacinth. “See, I am ready to obey at once.”

Saying these words, he approached the altar of Our Lady, and with loving respect, stretching out his arms, he placed the statue upon them, and carried it as easily as if it had been a little flower.

It was thus that he left the village, the image of Our Lady in his arms and the holy ciborium on his breast, accompanied by his brethren. He passed unmolested through the ranks of the enemy, who, by the permission of God, stood at a distance, and whose eyes were struck with blindness for a time so that they could not see them.

St. Hyacinth

St. Hyacinth crosses the waters carrying the Holy Sacrament & a statue of Our Lady

When they reached the banks of the Dnieper river over which they had to pass, they could find no means of reaching the other side.

Full of confidence in the power of the Most Holy Sacrament which he held in one hand, and in the protection of Mary, whose image he carried in the other, he made the Sign of the Cross. Then, placing his feet on the surface of the waters, he reached the opposite bank without even moistening the soles of his sandals.

The religious and people from the community who were with him, seeing this great miracle, followed him and also reached the other side of the river, the water not appearing even to touch them.

The river over which they thus miraculously passed for a considerable time afterwards continued to show the impression of the Saint’s footsteps.

Many other wonderful things are recorded to have taken place there through the intercession of Our Lady, which caused many of the people to embrace the true Faith and strengthened and vivified the life of faith in the souls of those who already possessed it.


Adapted from The Catechism in Examples,
by Rev. D. Chisholm, vol. 5, pp. 60-63

Posted June 18, 2022

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