From the Office of Father Michael

The Miraculous Panagia Icon of Jerusalem

Beloved In Christ,

As we approach the Feast of the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos I want to share with you the story of the Miraculous Icon of the “Panagia of Jerusalem”. I have seen this Icon several times in the past and truly it a Blessed and Holy Icon.

The Elder Paisios of Mount Athos, who had seen the Theotokos in a vision, recalled that, "The Panagia looks like the Icon of the “Panagia of Jerusalem”, she is exactly the same. I have seen her many times and I don't know of any other icon resembling her so much”. This should not be surprising, since the “Panagia of Jerusalem” icon has the reputation of being an icon made-without-hands. According to tradition, this Miraculous Icon was painted in the 19th.

A nun named Tatiani, a monastic who lived in Jerusalem, was an iconographer at the Holy Russian Monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Tradition tells us that Tatiani once saw a vision while she slept, she saw a nun whom she didn’t know, come to her in her cell. The nun said to her, “Sister Tatiani, I came for you to draw me.” Tatiani responded, “Bless sister, but I am an iconographer, not an artist”. The visitor then said, “In that case, paint an icon of me”.

Tatiani, taken back by the boldness of this unknown nun replied, “I don’t have a board to paint you on”. Her visitor then gave her a board for iconography and said to her, “Paint”! But as Tatiani painted the nun, she saw that the nun’s vestments become gold, her face shine brightly and she heard her say; “O Blessed Tatiani, after the Apostle and Evangelist Luke, you will paint an icon of me again.”

Tatiani was surprised that she was painting an icon of the Panagia; she became fearful in her sleep and awoke. She immediately hurried to her Abbess and related to her the vision. The Abbess doubted and told her to go and sleep and in the morning she should paint an icon of Panagia. As she returned, she could see light coming from her cell and she could smell a beautiful fragrance coming from the cell. She immediately notified her Abbess and together they entered the bright and fragrant cell, where they saw the most astonishing miracle.  The Icon from the vision was before them in reality, a Holy Icon of the Panagia made without hands.

After these events the Panagia presented herself again to the Tatiani and said to her, “Take me down to my house in Gethsemane,” which she did.  From that time the Holy Icon “made-without-hands” of the “Panagia of Jerusalem” can be found at the Tomb of the Theotokos in Gethsemane, where it continues to work miracles.

In His Love,

Father Michael