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October 5, 2014

Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos the Vourliotissa

Panagia Vourliotissa (Feast Day - First Sunday of October)

According to the tradition of Asia Minor, the Sacred Icon was found by a shepherd. He would take his goats to a field where there were rushes and reeds (vourla), for which the village of Vourla was named after. At one point a goat cut off from the herd and when it returned the shepherd noticed it had a wet beard. The next day the shepherd returned to the field without his goats to find the place with the water in order to open it so that his animals could drink. While searching and unable to find the source he discovered the icon of the Panagia.

On the spot of the discovery a small church was built and next to it a larger church in which the icon was kept. In 1922 after August 15th, the Turks entered Vourla and destroyed it. They desecrated, plundered and then burned the church. It is unknown how and by whom the icon arrived in New Philadelphia, a northern suburb of Athens.

The icon of the Panagia was damaged by another fire which occurred on the eve of the invasion of the Turks into Cyprus and on the anniversary of the consecration of the church.

The silver covering was placed in Philadelphia out of gratitude towards the Panagia by a woman of Vourla, who received a considerable amount from the exchangeable fund after the disaster.

It has performed many miracles and it attracts Christians both from Asia Minor and not.

By decision of the Sacred Cathedral of the Dormition of the Theotokos in New Philadelphia, where the sacred icon is kept, and the Sacred Metropolis of New Ionia and Philadelphia, a purely refugee Metropolis, the official celebration of the icon was appointed for the first Sunday in October each year.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.