Icon of the Mother of God "the Merciful"


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Commemorated on November 12

According to Tradition, this icon was written by the holy Evangelist Luke. It received its name “Kykkiotisa” from Mt. Kykkos, on the island of Cyprus. Here it was placed in an imperial monastery (so designated because it was built with donations from the Emperor) in a church named for it. Before coming to the island of Cyprus, the wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God traveled throughout the region by the will of God. At first, it was in one of the earliest Christian communities in Egypt, and then it was taken to Constantinople in 980, where it remained during the time of Emperor Alexius Comnenos (end of the eleventh to early twelfth century).

During these years, it was revealed to the Elder Isaiah through a miraculous sign that by his efforts the wonderworking image written by St. Luke would be transferred to Cyprus. The Elder exerted a great deal of effort in order to fulfill this divine revelation.

When the Icon of the Mother of God arrived at Cyprus, many miracles were performed. Elder Isaiah was instrumental in building a church dedicated to the Theotokos, and placed the Icon in it. From ancient times up to the present day, those suffering from any kind of illness flock to the Monastery of the Mother of God the Merciful and receive healing according to their faith. Orthodox are not the only ones who believe in the miraculous power of the holy icon, but those of other faiths also pray before it in misfortune and illness.

Inexhaustible is the mercy of the Most Holy Theotokos, Mediatrix for all the suffering, and Her icon fittingly bears the name, the “Merciful.” The wonderworking “Kykkiotisa” Icon of the Mother of God possesses a remarkable peculiarity: from what time period is unknown, but it is covered by a half shroud from the upper left corner to the lower right, so that no one is able to see the faces of the Mother of God and the Divine Infant. The depiction of the Mother of God appears to be of the Hodigitria (“Directress”) type, as is also the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God. The head of the Mother of God is adorned with a crown.

A copy of this icon is particularly venerated at the women’s Nikolsk monastery in the city of Mukachev.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)

Icon shown is not identical to that of the actual image