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ATHENS: September 9, 2016
Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany Leads Feast-Day Celebrations of the Appearance of the Light-Painted Icon of the Mother of God Icon

Feast-day celebrations of the appearance of the Light-Painted Icon of the Mother of God Icon were held on September 3, 2016, on Mount Athos, Greece, as reported by the news service Russky Afon.

His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany visited Mt Athos to join the celebration of the Light-Painted Icon of the Mother of God. Two Divine Liturgies were celebrated in honor of the icon, one at Dormition Cathedral, the other in the church dedicated to this icon. Afterwards, a procession of the cross was held to the locale where the icon of the Most-Holy Theotokos first appeared in 1903. Here, Vladyka Mark and the clergymen of the Russian monastics of Mt Athos performed the blessing of the waters above the wellspring in the chapel. During all-night vigil, and during the trapeza that followed, a sermon on the topic of the Light-Painted icon was read, outlining the significance of the holiday.

On August 21/September 3, 1903, the miraculous image appeared at St Panteleimon Russian Monastery on Mt Athos, Greece. During the distribution of alms at the Holy Gates of the monastery, a photograph was made which later was seen to include an image of the Mother of God Herself, who was among the poor monks receiving alms from the hands of an elder monk.

This miracle evidenced the fulfillment of the promise by the Mother of God to protect the monastic center, and lies amid the stream of miraculous events during various historical periods of the Holy Mountain. By Her appearance, the Most-Holy Theotokos supported the Russian monasterys continued alms-giving, providing solace to the hermits and silently inspired wisdom to the elders of the Kinot [governing council], confirming Her heavenly governance of Mt Athos and Her perpetual care.

In the words of the recently-reposed Abbot of St Panteleimon Monastery, Schema-Archimandrite Jeremiah (Alyokhin), it was the charity and devotion to the legacy of the elders that helped the Russian monastery there survive the turbulent 20th century. It was merciful charity that was the lampada flame that did not let the Russian presence there be extinguished. In the miracle of the Light-Painted Icon we see an example of how the Mother of God did not abandon the need of those who depended on Her. The Mother of God, the Communicant of unutterable blessings, left Her heavenly, blissful abode and descended to the earthly vale of tears to console those who depended on Her. The Hope of the Hopeless is another name that can be given to our Light-Painted image, for it properly describes what happened on that day, said the 100-year-old Fr Jeremiah before his death.

In 2012, a report by St Panteleimon Russian Monastery on the celebration of the Light-Painted Icon of the Mother of God was delivered to the Kinot, at its request, and confirmed by the blessing of Fr Jeremiah. The icon was then included in the official list of miracle-working icons of Mt Athos, and its feast day is now among the recognized panegyrics [feasts of praise] of Mt Athos. In 2013, during a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church at the Kievan Lavra of the Caves, held on the icons feast day, it was also included in the calendar of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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