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Synaxis of the Icon of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos

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June 28

Reading:

The great defender of the Orthodox Faith against the Iconoclasts, our righteous Father John of Damascus (See Dec. 4), was slandered to the Caliph of Damascus by the Iconoclast Emperor Leo the Isaurian (reigned 717-741). Saint John was accused of sedition and his right hand was cut off. Having asked for the severed hand, Saint John passed the night in great pain, praying for the aid of the most holy Theotokos. Awaking from sleep, he found that his hand had been miraculously restored, with only a red scar about the wrist where it had been severed, as a testimony to the wonderous healing. In thanksgiving, he had a silver hand attached to the icon to commemorate this great miracle. On becoming a monk in the lavra of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified in the Holy Land, John brought the icon with him. There it remained until the thirteenth century, when it was given to Saint Sabbas of Serbia (see Jan. 14), who brought it to Serbia, where it remained for a time. Later, it was miraculously transported by an unguided donkey that carried it to the Serbian Monastery of Hilandar on the Holy Mountain, Athos, where it remains to this day.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

From the Palestine, godly-minded Sabbas brought unto us thy ven'rable icon, which is known as Of the Three Hands, O all-holy Bride of God. Wherefore, since the monks of Hilandar now possess it as their boast, they send up hymns of praise and thanksgiving, while crying out with fervour: Rejoice, thou who art full of grace.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Come, let us worship the famed icon of the Queen of all called: Of the Three Hands, for the fearful marvel which it wrought; and with fervent faith and longing, come, let us cry out: O pure Maiden, keep thy monastery and thy flock from all dangers, tribulations, and adversities, for we cry to thee: Rejoice, thou help and defence of all.