Orthodox America

  A New Myrrh-streaming Icon

On Friday of the first week of Great Lent, in the church of St. Alexander Nevsky in Copenhagen, a Jerusalem Icon of the Mother of God began exuding myrrh.  The icon is an exact copy of a wonderworking image in the Russian monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mt. Athos, where the copy was painted in 1911-1913.  In 1928, it was sent to Denmark, to the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna "as a consolation, with the prayer that the Most Holy Mother of God not abandon the much-suffering Russian land and the Russian people both in the homeland and abroad."

After the Presanctified Liturgy that morning, 10 March 1995, there was a funeral, and the rector, Hieromonk Alexis, afterwards went to the cemetery, leaving behind two monks and the church warden to clean the church.  When they came to wipe the glass of the kiot holding the Jerusalem Icon, they noticed tears trickling from the eyes of the Mother of God. Returning from the cemetery, Fr. Alexis found the three men in prayer before the icon. Archbishop Mark was informed by telephone and he advised not to open the kiot until Sunday.

The removal of the icon proved rather difficult: the top of the kiot was fastened with many screws and the icon itself was attached to the frame with 20 nails.  There was more myrrh on the icon than on Friday, although not so much that it flowed down into the kiot.  Cotton was placed along the bottom of the kiot and it was closed.

On Wednesday, the parish auditor came to photograph the icon, and, as he was doing so, a large tear appeared in the left eye of the Mother of God and then a small tear in her right eye.

On Friday morning, the warden opened the church for an anticipated group of tourists.  She went to venerate the icon and, noticing that the eyes of the Mother of God were moist, she called Fr. Alexis.  He came to the church and together they observed two tears fall from the eyes of the Mother of God. At the same time, they were aware of a delicate fragrance.

After the Vigil on Saturday evening, the icon was taken into the altar, removed from its frame and placed on the Holy Table.  The next morning after Proskomedia, Fr. Alexis wiped all traces of myrrh from the icon with a dry piece of cotton.  At the end of the Liturgy, the icon was laid on an analogion in the center of the church and an akathist was sung before it. The icon was almost completely dry, and most of the parishioners, after venerating it, had gone home, when one woman called Fr. Alexis to look at the icon.  He began to wipe it with a piece of cotton and, at that moment, the Mother of God's eyes filled with tears, which slowly trickled down the icon.  Those parishioners still in the church surrounded the icon.  Fr. Alexis wiped the eyes with dry cotton and again large tears appeared.  This was repeated several times, and everyone present received a piece of cotton with myrrh.  Then the flow of myrrh stopped. When Fr. Alexis later returned to the church, the icon was dry.

At the time this report was made, the icon was back in its kiot, under glass. The flow of myrrh continues, but only during the church services. A few tears appear and trickle down, evaporating before they reach the bottom.

In conclusion, the editors of this account comment:

"This is the second icon of the Mother of God [belonging to the Russian Church Abroad-ed] that has begun to exude myrrh; the first, the Myrrh-streaming Iveron icon of Canada, also originated on Mt. Athos, the "garden" of the Mother of God.  What do these manifestations signify?  What is it-a consolation for us all, or a warning?  The ways of the Lord are inscrutable and the mysteries of His Providence beyond the mind of man. Humbling our self-satisfied and puffed-up minds before this miracle, let us look in horror at our apathy.  The Most Holy Mother of God is weeping as she looks upon the human race-her race-and sees a generation perverse and provoking (Ps. 77:10). Divine power, immortal and life-creating, caused dry wood and mineral paints to emit a fragrant co-suffering.  Let us entreat our Most Holy Mediatrix to enliven our wooden hearts.  Most Holy Mother of God, save us!"

Translated and slightly abridged from Vestnik,  2/1995, Munich.