Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Orthodox Icon of Mary Weeps in Russia

It has been reported that the "softener of evil hearts" Icon depicted on the right, located in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow wept miraculously during the election process of the new Patriarch Kirill. This Icon is also called the "Simon’s Prophecy" Icon.

According to the Evangelist Luke, the Holy Spirit told righteous Elder Symeon, the God-receiver, that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. And thus, forty days after the Divine Infant's birth His parents brought Him to the Temple of Jerusalem, and Symeon "was inspired" to come there as well, and took the Infant into his arms (hence the title "God-receiver"), and pronounced those famous words that we use in the Night Prayer Liturgy in the West "Now Master you can let your servant go in peace, your word has been fulfilled...." (Lk. 2:29). After that, he blessed St. Joseph and the Most-pure Mother of Our Lord, and addressed Mary with this prophecy: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk. 2:34).

Just as Christ would be pierced with nails and a spear, so the soul of the Most-pure One would be pierced by a certain weapon of sorrow and pain in the heart, when she saw her Son's suffering. After that, the hidden thoughts of the people regarding the Messiah would be revealed, and they would face a choice: to be with Christ, or against Him. Such an interpretation of Symeon's prophecy became the subject of a number of icons of the Theotokos. All those who turn to the Icon in prayer sense that with the softening of evil hearts comes an easing of spiritual and physical suffering. People come to recognize that when they pray for their enemies before such icons, their feelings of enmity are softened, and that strife and hatreds abate, giving way to kindness. The feast of the softener of evil hearts is celebrated in the Russian Church on February 15th.
Congratulations to the Orthodox Church on this day when they have elected their new Patriarch. May this be an oppotunity to work for unity also with the Catholic Church and to build the fraternal bonds that were sadly broken 10 centuries ago. Perhaps this new election is a sign of hope indeed as the icon is a sign of hope, and a continuation of the fulfillment of the prophecies of Our Lady of Fatima.

1 comment:

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