Mother of God “Softener(or “Consoler”) of Evil Hearts” or “Prophecy of Symeon”
Commemorated on 2 February
Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men!
This Icon is also called the “Symeon’s Prophecy” Icon. According to the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke, praising the Infant Savior whom Mary and Joseph brought to the temple old St.Simeon prophesied about the Theotokos’ suffering, “Behold, this One (the Child) is set for the fall and resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against. And thine own soul also will be pierced by a sword, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35). This prophecy by Simeon is portrayed by visible symbols – seven swords (or arrows): three on the right side, three – on the left and one (the seventh) comes up from below. Number seven means the fullness of grief, boundless sorrow and heart pain that the Theotokos suffered in her earthly life.
Prayer before the icon dissolves hatred. All who pray before the icon feel smoothing of their own heart and lessen of distress. People pray before the icon for cure from contagious diseases, from lameness and other forms of infirmities, as well as for peaceful resolution between enemies. All those who turn to the icons of the Mother of God in prayer sense that with the softening of evil hearts comes from an easing of spiritual and physical suffering. People come to recognize that when they pray for their enemies before such icons, their feelings of enmity are softened, and that mutually destructive strife and hatreds abate, giving way to kindness.
People pray before this icon for pacifying the warring, for softening of evil hearts; it is addressed to with a plea to soften every evil, jealousy, hatred; people get comfort when in grief and pain of the heart, they get comfort in suffering .
One source states “this icon protects the house against negative energies and envy”, and “it is often placed at the front door.”
The “Softener of Evil Hearts”(“Умягчение злых сердец”)or “Prophecy of Symeon”(“Симеоново проречение”)icon is commemorated on February 2/15 and on the Sunday of All Saints.
There is a similar icon of the Mother of God that shows three swords on one side and four on the other, with no sword coming from below. This icon is known as “Seven Swords” (“Семистрельная ” / “Semistrelnaya” ) and is commemorated on August 13/26.
Myrrh-Streaming Icon of the Mother of God “The Softening of evil Hearts”
In 1999, at the glorification of Matrona “the Blind” of Moscow, Anastasia Basharinaya, the daughter of Margarita Vorobyeva, both of Bachurino, a village on the outskirts of Moscow, placed a lithographic icon of the Mother of God “Softening of Evil Hearts” on the saint’s reliquary. Later this ordinary printed icon, mounted on wood and produced at the Sofrino factory near Moscow, began exuding myrrh in their apartment. In time the miracle began attracting visitors to their home and invitations to various churches.Sergei Leonidovich Fomin, Margarita’s husband, says At first the holy image stayed in our home, where we read akathists and prayed…People donated money, thus giving us the opportunity to build a chapel in honor of the icon Softener of Evil Hearts. Our church is in the village of Bachurino , five kilometers from Moscow.
All who come with prayer to the “Softening of Evil Hearts” icon will feel a softening of the heart,said Father Victor, “Sufferings of the soul and body are made well. If you pray for your enemies before it, their hostile thoughts will depart, leaving in their place a more generous feeling of mercy. Parishioners have witnessed not only cures of evil and envy, but the icon performs miracles for the health of our body as well. Holy Myrrh flows from the icon in liters.”
This icon travels to jails, nursing homes and hospitals. Everywhere people pray to the Mother of God and receive comfort.
The flow of myrrh from the icon and its fragrance changes according to circumstances. Activity slows during fast periods, especially the first week of Lent and Passion Week. At other times it has foreboded disasters.
On August 12, 2000, the day of the Kursk submarine wreck all the crew members on board perished, tiny bleeding wounds appeared on the icon of the Theotokos. The icon gave off the smell of blood prior to the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City in September 2001.
In Yalta a paralyzed teen was brought to the icon. By the evening he was walking.
A good friend of mine, a former commander of “Alpha,” the special forces of the Federal Security Service, always anointed his soldiers with oil from the icon before they went on a mission to “hot spots” – for hostage rescue and other special operations. and the missions were completed successfully.
Troparion, in the 5th tone
Soften our evil hearts, O Theotokos, quench the misfortunes of those who hate us,and loosen every bond constricting our souls. Gazing upon thy image,we are deeply moved by thy suffering and thy charity toward us. We kiss thy wounds, and are horrified that our arrows torment you.O merciful mother, do not let us perish in our evil-heartedness,or from the evil-heartedness of others, as thou art truly the Softenerof evil hearts.