Icon of the Theotokos
Posted 06 October 2011 - 01:50 PM
Does anyone know the name of this icon, or have an internet link to the story or to the icon?
Thanks in advance (Olga) for the information.
Posted 06 October 2011 - 03:18 PM
Icon of the Mother of God "Comfort" or "Consolation"
Commemorated on January 21
The Vatopedi “Comfort” or “Consolation” Icon of the Mother of God is in the old Vatopedi Monastery on Mt. Athos, in the Church of the Annunciation. It was called “Vatopedi” because near this monastery Arcadius, the son of Emperor Theodosius the Great, fell off a ship into the sea, and by the miraculous intercession of the Mother of God he was carried to shore safe and unharmed. He was found sleeping by a bush, not far from the monastery. From this event the name “Vatopedi” (“the bush of the child”) is derived. The holy Emperor Theodosius the Great, in gratitude for the miraculous deliverance of his son, embellished and generously endowed the Vatopedi Monastery.
On the Vatopedi Icon, the Mother of God is depicted with Her face turned towards Her right shoulder. This is because on January 21, 807, She turned Her face towards the abbot of the monastery, who was standing near the holy icon, about to hand the keys of the monastery to the porter. A voice came from the icon and warned him not to open the monastery gates, because pirates intended to pillage the monastery. The Holy Child then placed His hand over His Mother’s lips, saying, “Do not watch over this sinful flock, Mother, but let them fall under the sword of the pirates.” The Holy Virgin took the hand of Her Son and said again, “Do not open the gates today, but go to the walls and drive off the pirates.” The abbot took precautionary measures, and the monastery was saved.
In memory of this miraculous event, a perpetual lamp burns in front of this wonderworking icon. Every day a Canon of Supplication is chanted in honor of the icon, and on Fridays the Divine Liturgy is celebrated. On Mt. Athos, this icon is called “Paramythia,” “Consolation” (“Otrada”), or “Comfort” (“Uteshenie”).
Posted 06 October 2011 - 10:13 PM
Posted 07 October 2011 - 07:12 PM
The “Otrada” or “Consolation” Icon is in the Athonite monastery of Vatopedi, established during the reign of Constantine the Great. In the year 395, Arcadius, son of Emperor Theodosius the Great, who was in a ship near the monastery, fell overboard, and was swallowed by the waters. All of those present assumed that he had perished. With enormous effort, the ship managed to land at Mt. Athos. For a long time, Arcadius’ companions searched the shore, looking for the prince’s body. At the point of exhaustion, they suddenly found him lying peacefully asleep amid the shrubbery bordering the coast. Opening his eyes, Arcadius told them that by the intercession of the Mother of God, he was spared from certain death. This was the blessing extended to mankind by the Mother of God on holy Mt. Athos. In commemoration of this event, the monastery was given the name Vatopedi, i.e. the “bush of the youth.” Emperor Theodosius the Great expanded and enriched the monastery. The altar of a cathedral church was established over the spot where they found the prince. The prince himself, accompanied by Patriarch Nektarios, came from Constantinople for the consecration. The Holy Icon of the Mother of God was placed in this church in a chapel dedicated to Her.
The blessings shown by the Mother of God to the Vatopedi monastery did not cease. In 807, a band of robbers made plans to break into the monastery as soon as the gates were opened at dawn. They intended to slaughter the monks and to loot the monastic treasures. At the close of day, they disembarked on the shore and hid in the shrubbery. However, the Protectress of all Mt. Athos did not permit them to carry out their evil intentions. Matins ended, and all of the brethren dispersed for a short rest. In the church, the rector of the monastery was saying the morning prayer rule near the icon of the Theotokos. He was amazed to suddenly hear clear words of warning: “Do not open the monastery gates today,” said the Most-holy Mother of God, “but instead climb to the top of the walls, and tell the robbers to disperse.” Troubled, the abbot cast his gaze upon the Icon of the Most-holy Virgin, and beheld an astounding miracle: The images of the Mother of God and the Pre-eternal Infant had come to life. The Pre-eternal Infant, extending his right hand to cover the mouth of His Mother, turned His face towards Her, and said, “ No, My Mother, do not tell them; let them be punished.” But the Mother of God, striving to stay the hand of Her Son and Lord with her own, turned Her face to the right, away from Him, and twice more repeated the same words.
The abbot immediately gathered together the brethren, and related what had happened. Everyone was astounded to see that the faces of the Mother of God and of the Pre-eternal Infant, and the outline of the Icon, had changed. Everyone glorified the Most-holy Theotokos for her intercession and effort on their behalf and for the Lord’s showing mercy upon them, through her entreaties on their behalf.
From that day forth, the miraculous Icon has been renowned as the “Otrada” or “Consolation” Icon. The positions assumed by the faces of the Mother of God and of the Savior during the thrice-repeated directions to the abbot remained: The face of the Divine Mother turned to the right, away from the extended right hand of the Pre-eternal Infant. The face of the Mother of God expresses sympathy and love, her look alive with mercy and humility, with a merciful smile of greeting and consolation on her lips. The face of the Pre-eternal Infant-God is otherwise: it is awesome, with anger noticeable in every detail, his gaze filled with severity and implacable judgement.
In memory of the miraculous preservation of the Vatopedi Monastery from being looted, an eternal flame - a constantly burning oil lamp and large candle - burns before the Holy Otrada Icon. All those who enter the ranks of the brotherhood are tonsured in the chapel in which the Miraculous Icon is kept. Moreover, a moleben to the Mother of God is sung there daily.
In the women’s monastery of Tabolzhansk, in the former province of Voronezh, there was a copy of the Icon which had been brought from Mt. Athos. Many of those who came to her with faith received healing from their sicknesses.
Another copy, made not from the original but from the above-mentioned copy, and like it, locally venerated, was blessed in 1854 and was kept in the Holy Virgin-Resurrection Monastery in St. Petersburg. Both of them have now been lost.
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