The miraculous appearance of the icon of the Mother of God in the ninth century, during the era of iconoclastic dispute, was literally a confirmation “from above” of what had been pronounced at the Seventh Ecumenical Council on the veneration of icons.
The widow spent the whole night in vigil, praying before the icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. In the morning, according to God’s will, she took the icon to the sea and cast it upon the water. The holy icon stood upright on the waves and began to sail westward.
While the sinister circumstances of his death are still unclear, it is tempting to speculate concerning the motive for such a ghastly murder; after all, the Icon was not in Brother Joseph's possession at the time. From a spiritual perspective, however, the explanation is apparent. As written in an obituary prepared by the Icon's Home: "We live in a time of great spiritual awakening, but the spirit that awakens is that of satan, and all that is of Christ, of Jesus, of God, is a goading irritant to the carnal man, inciting the infernal wrath of the deluded."
I asked a monk if he could not sell it to me. He refused, having explained that this image was the first to be painted in that skete and therefore could not be sold. I could not tear my eyes from that wondrous icon.
In June of 2008, the “Hawaiian” Myrrh-streaming Iveron Icon was officially recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia as miraculous and worthy of veneration, and was given the blessing to travel to the various churches and monasteries of Holy Orthodoxy. The original “owner” of the Icon, Reader Nectarios, was charged by the Russian Orthodox Church to be Her guardian, and provide for the safety and care of this Wonderworking Icon of Christ’s Holy Church.
There are many copies of the Athonite Portaitissa the world over, including many which are also miraculous. Word of the Iveron Icon spread throughout Russia through pilgrims, and the future Patriarch Nikon ordered a copy. From here begins the history of the Lake Valdai Iveron Mother of God Monastery.
To the champion leader, our Mistress, the Theotokos, do we, thy servants, offer hymns of praise, as ones who have acquired a mighty shield, an insuperable rampart and an ever-vigilant guardian through the arrival of thy precious image.
He was kneeling in that church for no less than an hour. People coming into the church looked at him—some with understanding, others with perplexity—as he sobbed before the icon. “Help us, O Theotokos! You are a mother! You know how a heart can pain for a child.”