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January 11, 2020

The Glykophilousa Icon of Saint Antipas the Hesychast

The Glykophilousa (Sweet-Kissing) Icon of the Mother of God is closely linked to the personality of Saint Antipas of Valaam Monastery, who was original from Calapodesti, a small village in eastern Romania.

Saint Antipas found this icon in a decommissioned cell on Mount Athos, where he lived for over 19 years. Because the icon was in a precarious state, he asked the help of an iconographer named Paisios to have it restored.

After a while, the iconographer returned the icon completely restored speaking of a miraculous intervention in the restoration process.

Saint Antipas never separated again from this icon until his repose in 1882.

In 1865, when he left for Russia, he took the icon of the Mother of God and placed it in his cell at Valaam Monastery. Before he died, the icon miraculously left its place and situated itself on his chest.

The icon arrived in Finland in 1940 when Valaam Monastery was evacuated during the ‘Winter War’ between Finland and the Soviet Union.

In this context, some of the Russian monks founded a new monastic settlement near the town of Konevitsa, Finland, which they called the New Valaam.

The icon was kept in this monastery ever since.

On August 9, 2019, under the chairmanship of Archbishop Leo of Finland, the Holy Synod of the Autonomous Orthodox Church of Finland gathered in Helsinki and established the feast for this icon to be celebrated annually on January 11th, the day after the feast of Saint Antipas.