A photojournalist of the Pravoslavie.ru
website, Vladimir Orlov, has participated in the festivities on Holy Mount Athos dedicated to Venerable Athanasius the Athonite in the Great Lavra Monastery, which had been founded by him. The night before, July 4/17, a prayer service was performed and a procession of the cross with the “Kukuzelissa” wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God was held in the Lavra. This icon was named after St. John Kukuzel (also Ioannis Koukouzelis), a great Orthodox Byzantine singer and composer who most probably lived in the fourteenth century and to whom the Mother of God once appeared. One day, Venerable John fell asleep from exhaustion inside the church before this icon. In his sleep the saint saw the Heavenly Queen, Who said to him: “Rejoice, my son John! Keep singing to me, and for that I will not abandon you.” After this the Most Holy Theotokos placed a gold coin in his hands and then disappeared. Waking up, St. John discovered the gold coin in his hands, and from that day he always sang in the choir until his death.