August 23, 2015

Synaxis of Panagia Katholiki in Rhodes

Panagia Katholiki (Feast Day - August 23)


Leap for joy Rhodes for the divinely inspired Katholiki,
The honorable boasted icon.
On the twenty-third we sing to the Mother of God of Rhodes.

The wonderworking and grace-flowing icon of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary called "Katholiki" is kept in the sacred Temple of the same name of the Mother of God, which is located in the town of Kremasti in Rhodes. It took the name "Katholiki" during the sovereign rule of the island by the Knights of Saint John, because it received universal honor by both the Orthodox residents and the Latin conquerors.

It is an icon of large dimensions which dates to the end of the 14th or beginning of the 15th centuries, and it depicts the Most Holy Theotokos seated on a throne holding as an infant the incarnate Son and Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. On either side of the Mother of the Lord stand two Angels in reverence. According to local tradition, it is a replica of an older icon, called "Ktitorissa", which was a fresco on the wall of the first Temple, built after the miraculous finding of the icon of the Mother of God in that place.

Witnesses say that on the 25th of November in the year 1935 the shrine that contained the sacred icon burst into flames by an unknown cause and incinerated completely. The bells of the Temple rang without the intervention of human hands during the night and the residents ran to the Temple to see what happened. With horror they beheld the icon of the Theotokos on top of burning coals and, when they lifted it, they were amazed to see that while the wood on the back had been burned, paradoxically the colors remained unchanged. This was discovered with admiration by the maintainers of the icon in 2010.

During the last maintenance job the shrine was moved, revealing behind the icon the old fresco "Ktitorissa", affirming as true the local oral tradition of generations past. In 1926 it was dressed with a silver covering that was made in Smyrna.

Countless are the miracles performed over the centuries of the wonderworking icon by the grace of the Most Holy Theotokos, who is revered by all and ever-venerable, a sacred refuge and unmercenary clinic to the sick, a comfort of the oppressed and hope of those who resort with faith and reverence and seek the maternal provision and perception of the most blessed Mother of God.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
As a life-giving spring, is a your fervent compassion, and a divine treasury of miracles, is your holy icon; you showed to us the lowly ones, Lady Mariam Katholiki, that by your grace we gather gifts, crying out with one voice: Rejoice, the joy of the ecumene; rejoice, the boast of Rhodes and its joy.

Kontakion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Your revered icon today Theotokos, the wonderworking Katholiki do we honor, singing a hymn with gladness, as a source of life-bearing sanctification, springing forth streams of divine grace, to those who cry out: Rejoice, the boast of Rhodes.

Rejoice, Theotokos Katholiki, the sweetest refuge of the hopeless; rejoice, the protection of your people and boast of Rhodes, most notable.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.