September 25, 2019

Synaxis of the Panagia Engymonousa in Katerini (Celebrating the Six Month Pregnancy of the Theotokos)

It has been established that on September 25th the Panagia Engymonousa is honored, the protectress and guardian of all child-bearing women and childless families. Engymonousa is translated into English as "the one who is pregnant," and she is called this because in the icon of the Panagia Engymonousa the Mother of God is depicted as being six months pregnant. The reason her six month pregnancy is commemorated today is because it is exactly six months ago, on March 25th, that we celebrated her Annunciation which resulted in her conception, and in exactly three months, on December 25th, we will celebrate the Birth of our Lord.

Though very rare, depictions of the Mother of God pregnant date to around the eleventh century, most famously with the Theotokos of Blachernae, where the figure of Christ makes the sign of blessing within a medallion on her midsection as she stands with both her hands lifted in prayer; this is to signify that she is pregnant with God the Word.

The Panagia Engymonousa icon was presented to the Church of Saint Stylianos in the village of Kallithea of the Katerini municipality in 2018, and it will permanently remain there. Saint Stylianos, it should be noted, is the protector of infants and a healer of childhood illnesses.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
(Composed by Abbess Isidora of the 
Monastery of Saint Hierotheos in Megara of Attica)

Without knowing a man, you received God in your womb, and you carried Him Panagia in your womb, therefore we hasten to you as one who is pregnant because you are a sure aid, that I may come to the time of birth-giving, as is meet by your power. Rejoice Mariam who conceived God, rejoice the support of mothers: Rejoice the support and succor of all women who have conceived.

The videos below show the reception of the icon in the Church of Saint Stylianos on March 16, 2018 which was the Saturday of the Fourth Salutations Service: