THE FEAST OF THE HOLY ICON OF THE MOTHER OF GOD

June 26

From the Prologue

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.

HYMN OF PRAISE

THE FEAST OF THE ICON OF THE BIRTH-GIVER OF GOD [THEOTOKOS] OF LYDDA OR OF ROME

The icon of the Mother of God of Lydda

Patriarch Herman, a prisoner for the Faith,

From Constantinople, sent to the Pope

When the east suffered for icons.

The icon upon the water set out,

Faster than the boats that sail the sea,

Lighter than water and of the Zypher,

Atop the waves, water it touches not.

For a long time, the icon in Rome remained

Much time, many years,

Until the iconoclastic emperors

From battle with Christ, ceased from fatigue

And when golden peace, the east gilded

The icon of Lydda returned home,

Lighter than water and of the Zypher

Atop the waves, water it touches not.

Two capital cities [Constantinople and Rome], two martyrs,

The power of the Birth-giver of God, recognized,

Power most wonderful, the icon of Lydda

That raises the dead and heals the sick.





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