On Sunday, one of the families at our parish gave us the icon you see in the bottom of the picture. The icon is titled Panagia Pantanassa. This icon is a representation of the miraculous icon of the Theotokos held at the Monastery of Vatopedi, Mount Athos, Greece. The holy icon was brought to Mt. Athos by elder Joseph from Nea Skete. The first record of the icon's healing came from elder Joseph. One day a young man from Cyprus went to visit and entered into the church. At that point, the elder witnessed a glowing light radiating from the face of the Theotokos and an invisible power pushed the young man to the ground. When he recovered from his fall, he began to repent and weep and confessed that he did not believe and was a participant in the black arts. He changed his life and became an Orthodox Christian.
The icon is also know for working many miracles, especially healing people with cancer. There are many recent records of people who have been healed from cancer after participating in the Supplicatory Canon to the Pantanassa at the monastery. There are 13 odes that are sung as part of the Akathist. From Kontakion 9 and the Ikos:
All angelic and human nature was amazed at the greatness of Thine incomprehensible Incaration, O Word. Gazing with wonder before this great mystery of piety, with fear and trembling we thankfully cry out to Thee:
Rejoice, constant Preserver of healthy children. Rejoice, Bearer of health to the sick. Rejoice, Healing of ailing children. Rejoice, Mother of suffering youths. Rejoice, Thou who dost raise up those cast down upon the bed of sickness. Rejoice, Comfort of those held by the fear of death. Rejoice, Thou who dost heed men's weeping. Rejoice, Thou who dost regard our moaning. Rejoice, Suffuser of earthly pains with heavenly joy. Rejoice, supernatural Patience of the tempest tossed. Rejoice, Thou who preparest joy for those who weep. Rejoice, Thou who provided the meek with wings of prayer.
On Saturday March 12, the entire Akathist will be sung in the church followed by the solemn anointing of the sick for all in the parish. Lord, enlighten us, With Your precepts that can guide our lives, and with Your arm most powerful Grant to us Your peace, O You Who are the Friend of all. Clouds of trials now have surrounded me and I'm afraid, O most Praised hasten to my aid, You who carried Him Who is our salvation cause and hope. I lie now in great pain and sorrow, and there is no healing at all for my body. Except for you, Who alone gave birth for us, to the Word the great price for creation all, of your goodness Pantanassa, From my sadness and sicknesses raise me. Through the prayers and intercession of the Holy Theotokos, O Savior save us.
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!
Rejoice, constant Preserver of healthy children.
Rejoice, Bearer of health to the sick.