The legend of the icon of Kykkos Monastery-Panayia tou Kykkou- is a dramatic one.The icon is famous and revered throughout the Orthodox world.It is one of the four icons of the Virgin Mary attributed to Saint Luke.The regends surrounding them are many and interesting.The boards on which they were painted were given to saint luke,for the purpose by Archangel Gabriel.The other three icons are now to be found,one in Athens,another at Panagia Soumela Monastery in northern Greece,and the other in the Monastery of Megaspelion in the Peloponnese.All four icons passed through tremendous adventures before they finally came to rest in their present shrines.The Virgin of compassion-Panayia Eleousa-the icon of Kykkos,was taken to Egypt by Saint Luke after the death of the Virgin.He had painted it just seven years after the Crucifiction and Resurrection of Christ.The Icon remainded there until the Christians,to whom it had been entrusted,were captured by pirates.It was thrown into the sea to save it from desecration.Two Byzantine ships appeared and and,chasing away the pirates,rescued the Icon.They took it to Constantinople and presented it to the Emperor,Alexios Comnenos(1081-1118).The following is the story how it came to Cyprus where it has remained for the last 900 years.The Emperor Alexios,send a Duke, Manuel Voutoumites,to Cyprus as Governor.One day Voutoumites was out hunting and encountered a holy monk,Isaias,who failed to get out of his way quickly enough and was given a sharp kick.Within days the Duke was smitten with an incurable disease , described as a kind of paralysis,called Sciatica,the most severely affected part being his kicking foot.There then followed a dream sequence.First Voutoumites was told by God,in a dream,that he would be cured if he begged forgiveness from the old monk.When Voutoumites had complied with this advice he was cured.In the meantime Isaias himself had been dreaming.In his dreams the Virgin has appeared and had told him that it was in Cyprus that she wished her Icon,the Virgin of Compassion (Eleousa),to live.She said that he and Voutoumetis must go to Constantinople and bring it to Cyprus.On reaching Constantinople they found that the Emperor,not unnaturally,was reluctant to part with the Icon.Fortunately the Emeror's daughter was suddenly afflicted with severe sciatica.In exchange for her immediate cure the Emperor gave them not only the Icon but money to build a church for it.So the Virgin of Compassion came to Cyprus and all the trees bowed down to welcome her. The church was build by Isaias with the Emperor's money is called to the present day "the Imperial and Stavropegial Monastery of Kykkos".The term 'stavropegial' designates a cross lying under the foundation stone.Since then,it was burned down several times and in 1821,it was pillaged by the Turks in a revenge for the actions of the Greeks in the War of Independence.But on each occasion the Icon was rescued and taken to a place of safety.The Icon is protected by a curtain decorated with a figure in silver and edged with seed pearls. The Icon stood open so long as it was in the Emperor's palace. In 1576 , it was encased in a silver gilt cover which was replaced by a new one in 1795 .Since then,the painting has never been looked upon again.An appolling fate is predicted for anybody who attempts to lift up the curtain.Nobody dares to look in the face , because many who did so in the past were punished .The Virgin of Compassion is a living tradition on the island.She cures rheumatic illnesses,but most of all,she intercedes to bring rain when it is needed and she is greatly loved by all the people of Cyprus.http://noctoc-noctoc...y-of-kykko.html
Edited by M.C. Steenberg, 18 August 2008 - 08:10 AM.
Changed boldface font to normal throughout