MOTHER OF GOD QUICK TO HEAR
October 1 / November 9
To the right of the entrance to the trapeza (refectory) of the Monastery of Docheiariou on Mount Athos there is a special place of veneration dedicated to the miraculous icon of the Theotokos Gorgoepikoos. The monastery’s tradition suggests that the icon was written during the tenth century, in the time of St. Neophytus (founder of the monastery). Across from this lies the church dedicated to the one depicted in the icon.
In 1664 the then head of the trapeza (kitchen) named Monk Neilos (Nilus) was passing by the icon as usual with a lit torch to get to the trapeza. Suddenly he heard a voice say: "Do not pass by here again with a torch and smoke up my icon."
Neilos heard the voice but had no idea from where it came, so he continued about his business. After a few days at around the same time he heard the voice the first time, again he heard a voice saying as he passed with his torch: "Unmonastic monastic, how long will you irreverently and unhonorably smoke up my image?" Upon hearing this, immediately he was blinded.
It was then that Monk Neilos understood that both voices were of the Theotokos, and because of his disobedience he was correctly disciplined (the Theotokos is considered the supreme Abbess of all the monastics on the Holy Mountain). He made his way to a stasidi (monastic arm chair) across from the icon and began to implore the Theotokos for his sight to be returned. When the brethren heard what had happened, they placed a lamp before the icon, and censed it each night.
At the appropriate time the Theotokos forgave and healed him, saying: "I am the Abbess of this Monastery, the Theotokos Gorgoepikoos, for quickly do I hear those who call upon my name." Therefore, it is by the Theotokos herself that the name of this icon was confirmed to be Gorgoepikoos, which means "quick to hear."
The Most Holy Theotokos then fulfilled and continues to fulfill Her promise of quick help and consolation for all those who come to Her with faith.
In Russia, copies of the wonderworking Athonite image “She who is Quick to Hear” were always venerated with great love and fervent prayer. Many of them were glorified by miracles. In particular, there were cases of healing from the plague and from demonic possession.
Let us make haste to the Theotokos amid our misfortunes, and fall down now before her holy icon, crying out with faith from the depths of our soul: Hearken quickly to our entreaty, O Virgin, in that thou art called 'she who is quick to hear' For thee do we, thy servants, have as a ready helper in our needs.
Storm tossed on the sea of life we sink beneath the threefold waves of the passions and temptations. Wherefore, grant us a helping hand, O Lady as thy Son did to Peter, and haste thou to deliver us from misfortunes, that we may cry, out to thee: Rejoice, O most good one, who art quick to hear!
Source : The Miraculous Icon of the Theotokos Gorgoepikoos : Mystagogy
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