A Miracle of a Copy of the Icon of Axion Estin

Panagia_to_Axion_Esti_01During the Greek Revolution of 1821, before the great catastrophe that took place on the island of Chios, the Turks pillaged the monasteries of the island of their wealth. One day a Turk happened upon two Greeks who were trying to save the treasures as he was holding an icon of the Theotokos. He told the Greeks: “Take this Mariam” (the Turks call the Virgin “Mariam”). The Greeks didn’t understand why the Turk was giving them the icon. He went on to say: “I tried with my sword to cut this icon in pieces so as to throw it in the fire, but every time I went to chop it nothing would happen to the icon. I looked carefully at the icon and I noticed it smiled at me. I understood your faith is great and this icon should not be destroyed. Take the icon and put it in your church.”

In tears the two Greeks signed themselves with the sign of the Cross and they took the icon and hid it in a bag taking it to their homeland in Reizdere, Asia Minor. They placed the icon in the Monastery of Saint Nicholas and it soon became known for its miraculous properties.

Of its many miracles, the following is told:

20140928_125333There was a sick woman who sought healing from the Holy Virgin and vowed an offering of her bracelets in return. She was healed. But she lived a distance from Reizdere and it made it difficult to go and make her promised offering. This thought occupied her conscience after the miracle.

One day the healed woman noticed her bracelets were missing. She thought someone stole them. At that time she left for the monastery and meant to give an offering of money for the worth of the bracelets. She told the abbess of all that happened and she lead the woman to the icon of the Holy Virgin. With amazement and tears she looked up at the icon and saw her two bracelets which were found in front of the icon a few days before. The Holy Virgin helped fulfill the vow on behalf of the woman.

The faithful Greeks did not abandon this icon neither during the exile of 1914 when they brought the icon with them to Chios, or even during the genocide of the Greeks in 1922 when they were permanently exiled to Greece.

During the Genocide of 1922 a man by the name of Barouma hid the icon in his furnace after he risked his life trying to save it. This Barouma became a monk on Mount Athos where he lived the rest of his life with the icon. Eventually the icon was brought to Chios and then Lemnos. Eventually the Greeks who had come from Reizdere wanted to bring it with them to Crete so they boarded the boat with their beloved icon. As they passed the Holy Mountain the monks requested that the icon stay with them, but the citizens of Reizdere could not part with their icon. It was brought with them to Ierapetra, Crete.

In Ierapetra the icon continued to work miracles for the inhabitants. Eventually a church was built in its honor named Panagia Eleousa. The story of this icon demonstrates the great faith of the Greeks of Asia Minor, the grace of holy icons, and the care the Theotokos shows to the needs of her beloved faithful.

Source: www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2009/06/miracles-of-icon-of-axion-estin.html

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  • Cell of Axion Estin. Placing shelters
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Covering the church for the rain.

Placing shelters at the windows and plastering the church to be protected raining.

  • Rotten roof.

Starting to preserve the cells.

Placing floating screeds on the roofs. Putting holes, cracks on the wall where deterioration was, fixing broken/rotten doors etc

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An effort of creating a small kitchen.

It was firstly painted, cleaned and some kitchen cupboards were placed to put things in better arrangement.


Preservation of icons.

Many of the icons, Russian style, were cleaned and after receiving an initial preservation, decorate the walls of the church. Some of them were placed at the guest-house.

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 Improvement of the guest house.

The guest house was restored on huge chinks. It was later cleaned and painted and has Russian icons that belong to the cell.

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  • Before the maintenance work.
  • The altar now.
    Cell of Axion Estin. The temple.

Restoring the church.

In two months, the small church was cleaned, painted and Russian icons which belong to the cell were placed. The icons were cleaned and partly preserved to be ready for the feast of the cell (11th June annually)


After the Archangelic hymn.

asasaaaThe tradition of the cell reports that , when the Archangel chanted this new hymn to the Mother of God and disappeared,the icons on the altar changed position. In the place of Christ the icon of the Merciful Mother of God stood. This icon was later taken to the church of Protaton and was renamed Axion Estin. Christ’s icon was placed where the icon of the Virgin was, giving honor and glory to our Lady, justifying the miracle. This miraculous change is witnessed even in our days attesting its uniqueness, as one of the few iconostasis in the world having the Virgin on its right side.

aasaAnother tradition concerns the holy well which is on the left of the church. It says that the exact spot was pointed by Archangel Gabriel. The perfect condition of this new pool of Siloam (see John ch.9) and the watery horizon of the well that has never dried out consists a token of the Virgin’s blessings.