July 9, 2010

Icon of the Mother of God of Cyprus

Mother of God of Cyprus (Feast Day - July 9)

The Cyprus Icon of the Mother of God belongs to the Panachrana type. In this icon the Mother of God is depicted sitting on a throne with the Divine Infant in Her arms. On either side of Her is an angel.

The prototype of this holy icon manifested itself in the year 392 on the island of Cyprus at the tomb of Righteous Lazarus, the friend of Christ (October 17), and is kept there in a monastery. Renowned copies of the Cyprus Icon are at the Moscow's Dormition Cathedral, and in the Nikolo-Golutvin church in the village of Stromyn, Moscow diocese (Commemorated on the Sunday of Orthodoxy).

During the week of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the Greek Synaxarion has an account of an icon which is probably the Cyprus Icon. On the island of Cyprus a certain Arab was passing by a church dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos. In order to display his hatred for Christianity, the man shot an arrow at an icon of the Mother of God which hung by the gate. The arrow struck the Virgin's knee, from which blood began to flow. Overcome with fear, the Arab spurred his horse and rode for home, but was struck dead before he could get there. In this way, he was punished for his impiety.

Other days commemorating the Cyprus Icon are the Day of the Holy Spirit, and April 20. Some copies of the Cyprus Icon have additional names such as "Cleansing," "Knife," and "Hawk." The Cyprus Icon called "Hawk" was so named because of the way it was discovered. One day, the Christian ruler of Cyprus was hunting with his trained hawk. The hawk became tangled in a thicket while diving after another bird, and the ruler ordered the thicket to be cut away so that the hawk could be rescued. His servants rescued the hawk and also discovered an icon of the Mother of God in the thicket. The ruler later built a monastery on the site. The "Cleansing" Cyprus Icon was in another monastery on Cyprus, and was famous for healing many people with diseases of the eyes. The "Stromyn" Cyprus Icon became famous in 1841. An eighteen-year-old girl from Stromyn, a village not far from Moscow, was close to death from an illness. In a dream she saw the Cyprus Icon standing over the entrance to the church, and a voice came from the icon: "Take me into your home and have the priest serve a Molieben with the Blessing of Water, and you will be cured." The sick girl was brought to the church and finally located the icon after a long search. The girl obeyed the command of the Most Holy Theotokos, and after the Molieben she felt strong enough to carry the icon back to the church herself. Shortly thereafter, she was completely healed. The "Stromyn" Cyprus Icon continued to work miracles of healing, which the rector of the church reported to the holy Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow (November 19).