“Rejoice, unfading rose.
Rejoice, the only one who budded forth the unfading apple.
Rejoice, birth-giver of the aromatic balm of the King of all.
Rejoice, O Bride unwedded, the world’s salvation.”
The Holy Icon of Panagia of the Akathist
– Holy Monastery of Dionysiou Mount Athos
One of the most treasured and revered Icons of Mount Athos is that of Panagia of the Akathist Hymn or Salutations of the Holy Monastery of Dionysiou. It is the oldest Icon chronologically of all of the others of Mount Athos.
It is made of beeswax and mastich, a product derived from tree sap along with myrh. On the back of the Holy Icon, a silver plate is fixed and the Emperor Alexios 3rd Komninos and Saint Dionysios, the founder of the Holy Monastery of Dionysiou are depicted on it. The following writing is also inscribed on the back. “This is the miraculous Icon which Patriarch Sergios held whilst circling the walls of Constantinople and which ridded the city of the barbarian siege and was donated to the Monastery of Dionysiou by Emepror Alexios.”
It is therefore the Icon that Patriarch Sergios, during that historic night in the year 626 A.D., used to lead the procession with other clergy and faithful, around the walls of Constantinople, thus giving the small number of soldiers and the polpulation the courage to continue to defend the City of Cities. It is historically accepted that the supernatural powers of the Holy Icon was key in defending Constantinople and ridding her of the Avar invaders. There is no other historical explanation since the Byzantine army with Heraclius was in Persia waging war and was not there to defend the city. The leader of the Avars, Hagano, surrounded the entire city via land and sea. He sent a message to the defenders of the city, “Don’t be fooled by your God, tomorrow I will be the ruler of your city.”
This statement had a negative impact on the soldiers and population of the city and affected their confidence in defending the city. In the midst of this fear, Patriarch Sergios issued a statement to the soldiers and people of the city, in reply to Hagano’s comments. “It is a shame to lose faith. Think as people that they do not believe in God and in the results of a Holy war. I entrusted the city and its people into the hands of Our Lady, The Theotokos. Let us pray fervently to Panagia.” Once the message had spread, a sense of confidence and renewal in the soldiers and people took hold. Patriarch Sergios, immediately held a procession led with the Holy Icon of Panagia of the Akathist Hymn, the Holy Belt of Panagia, relics of saints and thousands of faithful around the city walls. One of the greatest miracles then occurred. The invaders heard what sounded like many thousands of soldiers commencing an attack against them. It was in fact an attack by an unseen force which destroyed the majority of their forces and left their remaining soldiers confused, who in turn fled.
This was the result of the fervent prayers and tears of the faithful who rejoiced with fervor at this joyous occasion and glorified the Lord and the Holy Icon of Panagia. All the faithful of the city gathered at the Church of Blacherna, where Patriarch Sergios chanted the famous hymn: Τη Ύπερμάχω Στρατηγώ τα νικητήρια….. for the rest of the night, a vigil took place before the Holy Icon, where all of the salutations of the Theotokos were chanted thus resulting in the first ever occurrence of the Akathist Hymn service, the service took its name from this occurrence.
In the 13th century, the Holy Icon of Panagia of the Akathist Hymn, was donated to the Holy Monastery of Dionysiou, Mount Athos, by Emperor Alexios.
Holy icon of the Mother of God the Hodegetria or the “Guide” or ‘Directress’.
by Saint Nikolai Velemirovic
The Evangelist Luke himself painted [wrote] this icon on wood. The All-holy Birth-giver of God saw this icon and blessed it. St. Luke donated this icon to the statesman Theophilus for whom he wrote the Acts of the Apostles. From Antioch, this icon was later brought to Jerusalem, from Jerusalem, Empress Eudocia took it and sent it to Constantinople as a gift to the emperor’s sister, the pious Pulcheria. Pulcheria placed the icon in the church of Blachernae, her own memorial church.
The All-holy Birth-giver of God once appeared to two blind men and led them into the church of Blachernae before her icon and there, restored their sight. Because of this, this icon was called Hodigitria the Guide.
When the army of the Persian King Chozroes and the Scythian King Kagan attacked Constantinople, Patriarch Sergius brought this icon out to the ramparts of the city and processed with it around the ramparts. The All-holy Birth-giver of God then saved the Christians from the non-Christians. The armies of the adversaries became confused, the sea became agitated, the boats sank and the enemies who remained alive fled. From that time, the commemoration of this miracle of the All-holy Birth-giver of God was instituted on the fifth Sunday of the Honorable Fast Season [Lent] by chanting the Akathist. During the time of iconoclasm, this icon was brought to the monastery of the Pantocrator and there it was sealed in a wall and a votive light was left there to burn in front of it. As it was sealed, so it was later found.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
She smiled and said: “I will be your mother”, A Profound Miracle by the Holy Mother of God
Fr. Sofian Boghiu talks about how quickly the prayers of Mother of God are heard and fulfilled by her Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.
He also recounts a story from the prison with a miraculous appearance of Virgin Mary.
This man of God was imprisoned for 6 years for his faith during the oppressive Communist Regime in Romania.
A modern day miracle story of the Mother of God – Fr. Sofian Boghiu
An angel of the first rank was sent down from heaven to say to the Theotokos: Rejoice! (3) And perceiving You, O Lord, taking bodily form, he stood in awe and with his bodiless voice, cried aloud to her as follows:
Rejoice, through whom joy shall shine forth;
Rejoice, through whom the curse shall vanish.
Rejoice, fallen Adam’s restoration;
Rejoice, the redemption of Eve’s tears.
Rejoice, height that is too difficult for human thought to ascend;
Rejoice, depth that is too strenuous for Angels’ eyes to perceive.
Rejoice, for you are the throne. of the King;
Rejoice, for you hold him who sustains everything.
Rejoice, star that shows forth the Sun;
Rejoice, womb in which God became incarnate.
Rejoice, through whom creation is renewed;
Rejoice, through whom the Creator becomes an infant.
Rejoice, O Bride unwedded.
O all-hymned Mother, worthy of all praise, who brought forth the Word, the Holiest of all Saints [3 times], as you receive this our offering, rescue us all from every calamity, and deliver from future torment those who cry with one voice: Who is more: Alleluia.
Kontakion, Plagal of the Fourth Tone
O Champion General, we your faithful inscribe to you the prize of victory as gratitude for being rescued from calamity, O Theotokos. But since you have invincible power, free us from all kinds of perils so that we may cry out to you: Rejoice, O Bride unwedded.
Exapostilarion. As God you adorned.
Your godly Protection, Maiden Mother of God, overshadows the faithful; and protects and guides the Orthodox flock and preserves it unscathed from dangers of every kind.
You are the Protection of Orthodox Christians, O Virgin, protecting all the faithful. And so your people takes refuge in your Protection, and with faith magnifies your watchful care.