Myrrh-Streaming Icon Visits Ohio Monasteries
October 24, 2012
The Hawaiian Iveron Icon of the Mother of God has been streaming myrrh since 2007. In 2008 the ROCOR Synod declared the icon miraculous, and blessed Reader Nectarios as its guardian, instructing him to bring the Icon to as many Orthodox parishes and monasteries as possible, to encourage the faithful. Since then, the Icon has visited over 500 Orthodox churches and monastic communities.
During her journey through this region, the Myrrh-Streaming Hawaiian Iveron Icon of the Mother of God was brought on Wednesday, October 24, 2012, to the Skete of the Entrance of the Theotokos and St Gregory Palamas Monastery in the placid countryside of northern Ohio. Schemahieromonk Ambrose (Young) and Abbess Theadelphi welcomed the Icon at the Skete of the Entrance. Fr. Ambrose offered a moleben service in the Skete chapel, anointing the several faithful who were able to take the morning off from work to be present, and then processed with the Icon around the grounds, blessing the new, nearly completed church and the monastic living quarters. The fragrance of the myrrh was strong in the Skete chapel for the entire next day.
The Icon next went to St Gregory Palamas Monastery, just a mile or so down the road. The Brotherhood welcomed the Icon with the traditional ringing of the monastery bells, as Fr. Abbot Joseph processed into the Monastery Church with the miraculous image. Fr. Joseph celebrated a paraklesis service before the icon at St Gregory's. There were a few pilgrims at each of the monastic communities for these wonderful visits, and I was able to schedule off work so as to be present at both. The myrrh streams very strongly, and is clearly visible beneath the glass covering the icon. Even the inside of the glass itself streams myrrh. The wood kiot protecting the icon must be periodically replaced due to the effects of the large amounts of myrrh which exudes from the icon. Everyone was anointed with the myrrh at the conclusion of the services (including the three guardians of the Icon), and all the faithful received a small icon print reproduction of the icon. Glory to God for such a blessing!
At the conclusion of the paraklesis, Fr Joseph asked Reader Nectarios to say a few words about the icon, which was very edifying. (The link below from the Hawaiiian parish website gives a full account of the Icon) In Rdr Nectarios' closing words, he indicated the icon has visited over 500 parishes over the past four years. A hand-painted icon of the Holy Cross at the parish, which also began to stream myrrh at the same time as the Iveron icon print, streams only off and on. It most recently was seen to be streaming myrrh two weeks ago. The fragrance of the two is noticeably different. Rdr Nectarios said the Iveron icon has a more feminine fragrance, whereas the myrrh from the icon of the Cross has a "more pungent, masculine" aroma.
He also affirmed that although this is a clear miracle, the greatest miracle is the mystery of the Eucharist celebrated at every Divine Liturgy in every Orthodox church. Yet (he continued) sometimes we need to "see" a visible miracle to bolster our faith. This is, he said, the meaning of the Myrrh-Streaming Iveron icon; the Mother of God is "nudging us along" to a deeper faith, to be assured of her nearness and the nearness of her Divine Son.
I certainly felt I was in a somewhat "transfigured" reality the whole time, from the moment Fr Ambrose appeared in the tiny Skete chapel with the holy Icon of the Mother of God. Interestingly, the fragrance, the aroma, seemed strongest to me outside the monastery church, as Fr Joseph was bidding goodbye to the Icon and her guardians. I was standing on the steps along with another pilgrim and Schemamonk Maximos. Even several hours later, the fragrance remains very strongly with me…
I might add that as the Mother of God is considered the Abbess of Monastics, and the Skete is dedicated to the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple, this was therefore a most meaningful event for the monastics here. I'm very thankful that I was able to be present for this special visitation...
From St Gregory Palamas Monastery, the Icon was traveling to an Akron parish for a service this evening, and to Lorain, Ohio tomorrow, and the next day continues on her journey to encourage the faithful. God willing, the Icon is to travel to Russia next year, and eventually to Mount Athos, where it will visit Iveron Monastery, where the prototype Portaitissa icon guards the gate of the Monastery.
Below are some links regarding the Hawaiian Iveron Icon. Scroll down for photos of the visits to the monasteries, and for two short videos.
Website of the Home Parish of the Icon, featuring Reader Nectarios' account of how the icon began to stream, and how it has been blessed to travel to the encourage the faithful:
A brief but helpful article on Wikipedia, discussing the Prototype Icon on Mt Athos, as well as the Montreal Iveron Icon (itself a myrrh-streaming icon) of which the Hawaiian Icon is a printed copy:
These next few links are from St John Russian Cathedral in D.C., which has many excellent resources:
Article on Brother Jose Munoz-Cortez, Guardian of the Myrrh-Streaming Montreal Iveron Icon, of which the Hawaiian Icon is a printed copy:
Videos on the Hawaiian Iveron Icon