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Myrrh-streaming icon makes local visit

October 20, 2012
The Herald-Star

The Hawaiian Myrrh-Streaming Iveron Icon of the Mother of God will visit Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Church at 528 N. Fourth St., Steubenville, on Tuesday. The icon will be welcomed at the church, and an akathist or service of praise will be held there at 7 p.m.

"This myrrh-streaming icon depicts the Mother of God holding the Christ Child," explained the Rev. Rade Merrick. "The myrrh that flows from this icon is an oil-like substance possessing the fragrance of roses. It is considered a great blessing from the Mother of God and many healings, both spiritual and physical, have been attributed to it. The icon is a replica of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God of Montreal. The original icon of the Iveron Mother of God, believed to be over a thousand years old, is still housed in the ancient Iveron Monastery on the monastic peninsula of Mount Athos, Greece. The icon belongs to a family of images of the Theotokos (Mother of God) known as Hodegetria ("she who shows the way") after the prototype from Constantinople. In these icons, the Christ Child sits on his mother's left arm and she is depicted pointing to Christ with her right hand. Another famous icon based upon Hodegetria is Our Lady of Czestochowa, greatly venerated in Poland."

"The Hawaiian Iveron Mother of God has a unique history; the icon is a mounted print replica of the Montreal Iveron Icon of the Mother of God, made by the Sofrino Church Supply Company in Russia. It was given as a gift to an Orthodox believer in Hawaii by his parish priest in the summer of 2007. It was in October 2007 that the believer, Reader Nectarios, smelled a strong fragrance of roses coming from the area in which the icon was placed in his home. As he approached the area searching for the source of the strong aroma, he noticed that the icon of the Mother of God that he had received as a gift was completely saturated with the fragrant myrrh. After notifying the parish priest, the icon was brought to the church and completely wiped dry. A service of intercession was held before the icon and, by the end of the service, the icon was again streaming myrrh and the church was filled with the fragrance of roses," Merrick continued.

"To this very day, many people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds come to venerate the icon of the Mother of God and ask for Her assistance with their troubles and maladies, as well as their physical ailments and spiritual needs," he said.

"In June 2008, the Holy Myrrh-streaming Hawaiian-Iveron Icon was officially recognized by Archbishop Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, as miraculous and genuine. The icon and its bearer have been given the blessing to travel to the various churches and monasteries of the Orthodox Church. This visit is part of a visitation to various parishes in the eastern US. The holy icon of the Mother of God continues to stream its fragrant myrrh to this day," Merrick said.

Believers will have the opportunity to venerate the icon and be anointed with myrrh from the icon following the service. All are welcome, according to Merrick.

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