The Hawaiian Myrrh-Streaming Icon of the Mother of God Visits the US Capital

By the Grace of God on August 22-23, 2009 the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was blessed by the presence of a new great sacred imagethe Hawaiian Myrrh-Streaming Icon of the Theotokos. This icon is a copy of the Montreal Iveron Myrrh-Streaming Icon of the Mother of God which for 15 years was safeguarded by Brother Jose (Joseph) Munos-Cortes. Brother Jose suffered a martyric death in 1997 in Athens, Greece.

The Hawaiian Myrrh-Streaming Icon of the Theotokos is much smaller than the original Iveron icon. Made in Russia, the Hawaiian icon is a 7 x 9 paper reproduction laminated on a board one inch thick. Fr. Anatole Lyovin, Rector of the ROCOR mission in Honolulu, purchased this icon in a church bookstore in Toronto, Canada a few years ago and gave it as a gift to his parishioner Reader Nectarios Yangson.

In the fall of 2007 Nectarios Icon began to copiously stream myrrh. A more detailed account of this miracle can be found on the site of the ROCOR in Honolulu: http://orthodoxhawaii.org/icons.html

On August 22, 2009 the parishioners of St John the Baptist Cathedral, Washington DC, piously awaited the arrival of the Icon in time for the English Vigil service. However the flight from New York was delayed due to inclement weather, allowing time for the church to be filled up with the faithful from other parishes in Washington and the environs, all of whom were waiting patiently to see and pray before the icon. Many faithful went to confession desiring to meet the Most Holy Image of the Mother of God with a cleaned conscience. The Holy Icon finally arrived during the reading of the Six Psalms during the Slavonic Vigil. Many of those who attended the English Vigil remained for the Slavonic service in order to get a chance to venerate the Icon and be anointed with its Holy Myrrh, which poured forth from many spots on the Icon throughout the service.

On Sunday, August 23, the Icon was present at both liturgies in an overflowing church. At each liturgy we communed the faithful from two chalices, as is our usual practice, but on this day the number of communicants had swollen to fill the entire Church, it was reminiscent of Holy Pascha. At the early English Liturgy, Fr John Johnson in his homily outlined the foundations Orthodox veneration of the Theotokos. At the Slavonic Liturgy, Fr Victor Potapov reminded the faithful the words of the martyred Br. Jose Munos-Cortes who always said that the greatest miracle of the Myrrh-Streaming Icon is not so much the manifestation of the physical myrrh, so much as the grace that it gives people to change their lives for the better.

After both Liturgies commemorative molebens were served and all those present were anointed with the Holy Myrrh and given a piece of cotton dipped in the heavenly oil. Many of the faithful did not want to leave the church; others came to our cathedral after Divine services in their own parishes in order to glorify the Theotokos in their native languages, including a group of local Georgians who read the Akathist in the Georgian language.

Despite the fact that we were behind schedule Fr Alexander Resnikoff was able to take the Icon to visit a number of gravely ill parishioners in Maryland.

At 5:00 pm, the faithful gathered at our Iveron Icon Chapel in Rock Creek Cemetery. Here we served a moleben and Akathist to the Mother of God in three languages: English, Slavonic and Greek. The prayer service ended with a solemn procession with the icon around the perimeter of the large Orthodox section of the cemetery.

After prayers at the cemetery Fr John Johnson took the icon to Virginia to bring comfort to a number of seriously ill parishioners.

On Monday, August 24 the new myrrh-streaming icon and its custodian Reader Nectarios Yangston departed for Hawaii via California.

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