THE COMMEMORATION OF THE HOLY ICON AXION ESTIN

June 11

From the Prologue

AND THE MIRACLE THAT OCCURRED BEFORE IT DURING THE REIGN OF PATRIARCH NICHOLAS CHRYSOVERGES (983-996 A.D.)

The miracle consists of this: One night a monk was reading the Canon to the Holy Birth-Giver of God and was singing "More honorable than the Cherubim" in his cell in the monastery of the Pantocrator, now called "Axion Estin" after the icon. His elder had gone to Karyes. Suddenly a man appeared in church and began to sing: "Truly it is Meet." That hymn so far was unknown in the church. The monk upon hearing this hymn, became excited not only because of its contents but also because of the beautiful heavenly singing. "Among us, we sing it in this manner," said the elder to the monk. The monk wanted to have this hymn written down and brought a tablet on which the stranger wrote down this hymn with his finger as though upon wax. Suddenly he vanished. That stranger was the Archangel Gabriel. This tablet was taken to Constantinople and the hymn remains even today in the Church.

HYMN OF PRAISE

A MONK AT PRAYER

A monk at night, alone in church

With a fervent prayer, dispels darkness from his soul,

All at once, a monk arrived, about him, nothing unusual,

And, as an experienced cantor, began to chant.

Then, the first monk began: "More Honorable"

Glorifying the Mother of God, Mother "More Glorious".

To him, the miraculous guest spoke about this hymn of praise:

"Among us," said he: "this hymn we sing differently,

As you began, we do not begin,

Rather with "Truly it is Meet," venerable father!"

And the entire hymn: "Truly it is Meet" he uttered,

And the monk tried, not a word to omit.

Now I breathe easier, O my virtuous brother

Of your hymn, allow me to copy it!

But pencil he has not and not even paper has he,

The church a place for prayer is and not for writing!

Then the guest at midnight traced the church with a cross

And on the stone with his finger he began to write.

As on soft wax, on the stone he wrote,

At this man, the monk was amazed.

Of the unusual guest, the monk inquired: "Who are you?"

For you, may it be enough that my name is Gabriel.

At once he disappeared. The monk with horror

Recognized the Archangel in the monastic habit.

That which he wrote, no one erased

With heavenly fragrance, the church was filled.





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