Contemplation from The Prologue of Ohrid~
To contemplate the Lord Jesus as the Vine:
“I am the true Vine” St. John 15:1
1. As the Vine from which sprouted numerous fruitful branches in the images of the saints;
2. As the Vine Who with His sap, His blood, waters and feeds all the branches on Himself;
3. As the Vine from Whom the Divine Church branched out on earth and in the heavens;
4. As the Vine from Whom, even I should not separate the branch of my life.
Reflection from The Prologue of Ohrid:
In icons of St. Nicholas, the Lord Savior is usually depicted on one side with a Gospel in His hands, and the Most-holy Virgin Theotokos is depicted on the other side with an episcopal omophorion in her hands. This has a twofold historical significance: first, it signifies the calling of Nicholas to the hierarchical office, and second, it signifies his exoneration from the condemnation that followed his confrontation with Arius. St. Methodius, Patriarch of Constantinople, writes: “One night St. Nicholas saw our Savior in glory, standing by him and extending to him the Gospel, adorned with gold and pearls. On his other side, he saw the Theotokos, who was placing the episcopal pallium on his shoulders.” Shortly after this vision, John the Archbishop of Myra died and St. Nicholas was appointed archbishop of that city. That was the first incident. The second incident occurred at the time of the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea. Unable to stop Arius through reason from espousing the irrational blasphemy against the Son of God and His Most-holy Mother, St. Nicholas struck Arius on the face with his hand. The Holy Fathers at the Council, protesting such an action, banned Nicholas from the Council and deprived him of all emblems of the episcopal rank. That same night, several of the Holy Fathers saw an identical vision: how the Lord Savior and the Most-holy Theotokos were standing around St. Nicholas-on one side the Lord Savior with the Gospel, and on the other side the Most-holy Theotokos with a pallium, presenting the saint with the episcopal emblems that had been removed from him. Seeing this, the fathers were awestruck and quickly returned to Nicholas that which had been removed. They began to respect him as a great chosen one of God, and they interpreted his actions against Arius not as an act of unreasonable anger, but rather an expression of great zeal for God’s truth.
Saint Nicholas pray to God for us!
History of the Icon
On May 9, 2004 – Mother’s Day in the U.S. – an Icon of St. Anna, the Mother of the Holy Virgin Mary, located in the Russian Orthodox Church of Our Lady of Joy of All Who Sorrow in Philadelphia began to stream myrrh. On that Sunday one of the parishioners mentioned to the parish rector, Archimandrite Athanasy that the Icon of St. Anna seemed to be “perspiring”. Upon further investigation, Fr. Athanasy notice visible liquid streams and droplets. Accumulations of the liquid were seen on the cuff on St. Anna’s left hand and on her left shoulder veil. Droplets were also found elsewhere on the Icon. This fragrant, slightly oily liquid is commonly referred to as “myrrh”. Initially the myrrh looked like tear drops, as if St. Anna was crying. More recently small, slow-moving streams of myrrh have appeared in other parts of the Icon. The Icon of St. Anna was commissioned by Fr. Athanasy in 1998, in the Mount of Olives Convent in Jerusalem. He himself had served there in 1980-1981. In 1998, the Icon was completed, blessed at the Sepulcher of our Lord in the Jerusalem Church of the Resurrection, and brought to Philadelphia. Currently as of Fall 2012, the Icon resides at St. Tikhon’s Monastery and has a wonderful heavenly fragrace but is not currently weeping. Assistance and healings are still wrought by the miraculous Icon of St. Anna and She continues to work wonders for those who approach will faith.
A Miracle of St. Anna in Contemporary Romania
The Holy Object most beloved by all the Moldavian Christians is the wonderworking icon of St. Anne in Bistrita Monastery. Innumerable miracles performed throughout the ages have closely bound the people’s hearts to Anne, the Foremother of God. She is the patron saint of Moldavia’s towns and cities, the consolation of the sorrowing, the support of the despairing, the feeder of the hungry, and an unsleeping intercessor for everyone before the throne of God the King of all. It would be superfluous, I think, to recount all her miracles. We will tell of only one here as an example.
In the summer of 1969 there was a great drought in Moldavia. The people were extremely worried, because the crops were in danger of drying up. Finally, the priest of the village of Patraveni summoned the Christians to church and said to them: “Brethren, God is angry because of our sins. Tomorrow the whole village will go to pray to St. Anne. Prepare your wagons, and bring food, candles, oil, and incense, and at five o’ clock tomorrow morning we will leave.” The next morning, at eight o’ clock, about three hundred people with their priest at their head arrived at the gates of Bistrita Monastery. First Divine Liturgy was celebrated, and afterwards they took the Icon out to the courtyard and performed Holy Unction, while the faithful knelt and prayed silently. Some wept. After everyone had been anointed with the holy oil, there was a procession with the Icon around the church, and then it was set in one place and all the people venerated it. Afterwards the faithful knelt in two rows, and the Icon was passed over their heads as a blessing. When all the prayers were finished it was noon, and they sat down to eat whatever they had brought with them. Then they called their village and asked for wagons to come and pick them up. Two or three hours went by, and still they died not appear. Finally they learned the during the three hours they had been praying it had rained so hard in their village that the wagons, together with the animals pulling them, were completely unable to move….
- taken from the book “A Pilgrimage to Orthodox Romania” (1986) by Monk Damascene of Grigoriou Monastery, Mt. Athos
Luke 1:42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
Commemorated on September 24
The Mirozh Icon appeared at the Mirozh monastery in the year 1198. But later, during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, at a time when a plague raged at Pskov, an ancient report tells how tears flowed from both eyes of the icon. Many benefits and healings for man occured from the icon of the Mother of God.”
The Mirozh Icon is an “Orans” (“Praying”) type. On either side of the Most Holy Theotokos stand the Pskov Saints: on the right, the holy Prince Dovmont-Timothy (May 20); on the left, his wife, the holy nun Martha, in the world named Maria Dimitrievna (November 8, 1300). Tsar Ivan Vasilievich took away the wonderworking icon from Pskov, but at the monastery an exact copy remained: the so-called “Great Panagia” from the Savior-Mirozh monastery.
On September 24, 1567, on the Feast of St Abraham at the Mirozh monastery there occurred a miraculous sign from an ancient icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. The celebration of the Mirozh Icon of the Sign was established in that same year, with the blessing of Archbishop Pimen of Novgorod and Pskov. A special service to this icon was composed, and was published in the 1666 MENAION.
Today the glad tidings go forth to the world. Today sweet fragrance is wafted forth, foretelling the glad tidings of salvation; and the barrenness of our nature hath been united: for the barren one hath become a mother to the one who remained a virgin after giving birth to the Creator; from whom cometh the God in nature, taking a foreign nature and working salvation in the flesh for the lost, Christ, the Lover of mankind, and the Deliverer of our souls.
~Stephen the Jerusalemite, Second of his Stichera on “O Lord, I have cried…” at Vespers
The Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, Divine Prayers and Services: Third Edition, Seraphim Nassar (ed), Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, Englewood, NJ, 1979, p. 284.
hat tip: Church Fathers Wisdom (Dynamis)
COLUMBUS, OH [MW Diocese Communications] — On Tuesday, August 28, 2012, the eve of the Feast of the Icon of Christ “Not Made with Hands” according to the Julian Calendar, an icon of our Lord, of the same type, began weeping at Saint Nicholas Church here.
“This was witnessed by a dozen parishioners who attended the Akathist service on Tuesday night,” said Archpriest Miroljub Ruzic, rector, who was also present for the service.
The icon has been in the parish church for 13 years.
“May this miracle arouse in us more sincere and heartfelt genuine repentance,” added Father Miroljub, “and may the purifying tears of our Lord confirm us all in the unshakable and steadfast confession of our True, Salvific and Holy Orthodox Faith.”
Additional information will be posted as it becomes available.
**spotted in a comment on Facebook: “…Fr. has told us that there have been 8 weeping icons of Christ in the history of the Church…” Thomas Richter
Don’t give up! No matter how little you are, no matter how tired, you mustn’t give up. For, I repeat, no misfortune means anything. Nothing is lost as long as faith is established, the soul doesn’t surrender, and you raise your head again! God forbid that you be sad! Don’t’ be afraid! It’s true, one’s thought should be in hell and in hell only (from Saint Silouan). But hope should be with God without ceasing, thinking that He greatly loves us….God is more intimate with us than we are! When you think about this, you fill yourself with hope. But, our deeds, no matter how amazingly good, can’t save us. They can’t erase anything. And, no doubt, we’re sinners, but with hope. Hope – this is it!
~Elder Arsenie (Papacioc)
“A Final Visit with Elder Cleopa,” Eternity Hidden in the Moment
The Orthodox Word, Vol. 47, No. 6 (281), Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, CA, November 2011, p. 299.
hat tip: Dynamis ~ Church Fathers Wisdom