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August 14, 2018

The Amazing Voyage of a Paper Icon of the Theotokos from Crete to Mount Tabor


The paper icon appeared on a full page of the newspaper Orthodox Observer (Ορθόδοξος Παρατηρητής) which was published in Athens in 1956. A devout man named George Lazarakis from Heraklion, Crete took this clipping from his copy of the newspaper, and wrapped in it three candles, incense and a bottle of oil. After packaging these items, he threw it into the sea and asked the Panagia to guide his package to the island of Tinos so that they may use his gifts at her famous sacred shrine there.

However, instead of going to Tinos the gifts of George Lazarakis went to Tel Aviv. There an Arab Orthodox man named Anin Muchlesif, on July 19, 1958, two years later, found the package on a beach, and without knowing Greek brought it to the Metropolitan of Nazareth. After this the Metropolitan of Nazareth responded to the letter of George Lazarakis. Today the newspaper clipping of the icon of the Theotokos, which depicts the twenty-four stanzas of the Akathist Hymn, is put on display next to the letter of George Lazarakis with the response of the Metropolitan in the Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor.