Athens, May 4, 2023
One of the greatest and most highly venerated icons of the Most Holy Theotokos was taken yesterday from its home on Mt. Athos to Athens, where it will remain for two weeks for the veneration of the faithful.
The solemn departure of the great Axion Estin (It Is Truly Meet) Icon was held yesterday morning with representatives from the holy monasteries and a large number of monks. The icon was first placed in the center of the Holy Church of the Protaton, where it is housed, in Karyes, the administrative center of Mt. Athos, and then was carried out to the ringing of the church bells, reports Romfea.
That evening, the Icon was greeted by thousands of Orthodox faithful in Athens, led by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, and carried in procession to the Holy Metropolitan Church of the Annunciation of the Theotokos. The Icon was placed in the center of the church and a doxology was celebrated.
Abp. Ieronymos praised the Panagia, saying:
It’s a great mystery because in her person the laws of nature were overcome after the Immortal God entered her womb. Consider what the fate of humanity would have been if the Virgin Mary hadn’t lent her flesh to incarnate the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Christ. Panagia is the one who makes the big, stable, qualitative difference. She shows us what motherhood means…
Human motherhood is identified with exclusivity. But the Virgin Mary offers her only Son to save the world. In this way, she became the mother of us all.
Daily services will be held at the cathedral while the Icon is present.
Read about the miraculous history of the icon and the hymn, “It Is Truly Meet,” here.