MOTHER OF GOD "MYRRHOVLYTHISSA"
OF THE DIONYSIOU MONASTERY
OF MOUNT ATHOS
Our Lady of the Salutations
According to an inscription on a silver plaque on its back, this icon was given by the Emperor Alexius Comnenus to the Blessed Dionysious, the founder of the Monastery, when the latter visited Trebizond, and it is that with which the Patriarch Sergius on the walls of Constantinople repelled the siege of the Scythians in 626 AD, and before which after a miraculous victory of the Byzantines the Akathistos Hymn was sung for the first time. In 1592 it was stolen by Algerian pirates, but a great tempest, a terrible dream and a strange miracle seen by their leader decided them to return it to the Monastery. The icon had shattered the casket in which they had hidden it and was immersed in myrrh. Some of the pirates, overwhelmed by the miracle, stayed at the Monastery, were baptised, and became monks. In 1767 it was again stolen by a band of ruffians from Dalmatia, but on their way back home they were detected by Greek shepherds, who took it from them and took it to Skopelos. The village elders of the island refused to return the icon to the monks of Dionysiou who came to take it. Three months later the island was punished with the plague, whereupon the people of Skopelos repented and returned the icon to the Monastery, also dedicating to it a metochi on their island. The icon is small in size and the design is very blackened and difficult to make out. It is kept in the chapel named after it, where the Salutations (the Akathistos Hymn) are read daily.
Source : Myrrhovlythissa : Dieter Mitternacht
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