My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and SaviorJESUS CHRIST.
On this day the service of the Light-bearing Resurrection is chanted.
At Kalamais, it is chanted together with the service of the sacred
Icon of the Mother of God known as the Meeting (Υπαπαντή) in the
This holy icon of the Theotokos was executed in the year 672 A.D. of Our Lord’s salvation. It is discovered by means of a vision vouchsafed to a certain stableman. The icon was buried considerably deep within an Ottoman stable, during the epoch of Turkish rule. The wood board of this sacred icon on the reverse side was completely covered with traces of being burnt by fire. The front side, however, was intact and unharmed. The inscription upon it read "Meeting." The icon had been dedicated to the Church of the Presentation of Our Savior, the One "Whose winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His threshing floor, and will gather His wheat into the storehouse, but the chaff He will burn completely with fire unquenchable" [Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:17). This took place centuries before the captivity of the Peloponnesos in Southern Greece. Evidently, according to the back of the icon, it abided in that church probably up to the Iconoclastic period. It is a miracle of the hallowed will of the Mother of God that the front of the holy icon remained untouched. Now after the finding of the sacred icon and raising it up out of the stable grounds, it was first installed in an old small church by the name of the Meeting, to honor the feast inscribed upon the sacred icon. Moreover, there had been an ancient church dedicated to the feast, which lay underneath the place where the sacred icon had been put or stowed away. Then, after the liberation of Greece in 1821, that small church was leveled to the ground. In its place, they raised up a grand and majestic Church of the Meeting in the Temple. The date of consecration is recorded as the 19the of August, in the year 1873, which building thereafter also became the Metropolis of the Church at Kalamon of Attike (Attica).
The holy icon is revered and honored not only by the Kalamioi, but also the inhabitants in the surrounding area as their treasure inexhaustible and distinguished and renowned. Because who is able to number the myriads of miracles of the sacred icon? However, the passage of much time and all manner of circumstances which took place during the period of the Greek Revolution in the Peloponnese and, indeed, in Messenia, left its mark of different anomalies on the icon. After all the vicissitudes and migrations that befell the populace, as well as the changes and transfers from place to place of the holy icon in order to preserve it, it is regreatable that the charity of the image became obscure. Those depicted therein became diminished to the point of destruction of the surface of the faces, so that there was a great need to restore the countenance of the Theotokos and the Divine Infant in her arms, Our Savior, in order to maintain the relative veneration of the hol icon. But as much as its restoration was contemplated to be necessary, that is, to set right the faces of the holy icon, the Christians' reverance was such, on account of the icon's supernatural wonderworkings, to hinder any touch-ups. This was the general consensus, that is, to remain unpersuaded to restore, revise, or correct the icon n any way. But Divine Providence prevailed completely over all difficulties and dispensed in this manner any wrangling over the isse.
At Kalamai, in the year 1839, a secretary of the Diocese of Messenia, Greece, by reason of devotion for ecclesiastical painting, was moved only by reverence for the sacred icon. In forty days, he painted the faces of the holy icons with considerable skill and succeeded in imitating the likeness of the prototype, also applying silver and gold to the clothing of the Theotokos and Our Savior. The contrariness of the people was expected, but instead gratitude was shown all around toward the secretary with onlh good intentions. Those who were ignorant of the corrective did not discern anything, thinking that it was the orginal work.
Now the ancient icon was so venerated at Kalamai that, in every dire circumstance, the majority of miracles were wrought for those who, with faith, appealed to Our Lady. The restored holy icon continued to disperse great miracles, saving the people from all manner of calamity. Our particular instance which nearly caused extinction for the inhabitants must be recorded here, though in an abridged form, for the certification of the other miracles wrought by means of the icon.
In they year 1841, during the months of harvest and the beginning of automn, God judged what He beheld and it was 'time fo rthe judgment to begin from the house of God' [1 Peter 4:17]. A grave disease befell the populace at Kalamai, especially in the hart of the city. Bitter death awaited all those who contracted the disease . The weeping and wailing in unison of the widows and orphans, that is, the surviving relatives, echoed throught the city…
"The natives of Kalamai, observing that this pitiless disease was scrourging the living and reaping them by the ensuing bitter deaths, not having compassion on any age or gender or walk of life, were resolved to have Our Lady INTERCED WITH GOD TO BANISH THE DREADFUL ILLNESS AND RESULTING MORTALITY. THEY ALL SOUGHT AND INSISTED THAT A PROCESSION, A LITANY WITH PETITIONS, OUGHT TO BE CONDUCTED AS THEY ESCORTED THE HOLY ICON, THE COMMON COMFORTER AND ADVOCATE OF THE PEOPLE. A THREE DAY FAST WAS ADVISED BY THE LEADERS. SUPPLICATORY PRAYERS AND PROCESSIONS OF ENTREATY FOLLOWED. O thy Wonders, pure Lady! Henceforth, the disease disappeared from their midst, to the glory of Our Lady, the Most Holy Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary, by whose intercessions may we be delivered from evry bodily and spiritual infirmity, and may we be vouchsafed the Kingdom of the Heavens. Amen. May it be! [Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church]
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George