Feast Day: June 11th
About the Icon of Axion Estin: Then he chanted something the disciple had never heard before, “It is truly meet to Bless Thee, O Theotokos, Ever-Blessed and Most Pure, and the Mother of Our God…”
It is truly meet to Bless thee, O Theotokos, Ever-Blessed, and Most Pure, and the Mother of our God. More honourable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim. Without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word. The true Theotokos, we magnify thee.
Apolytikion: Ye hosts of the Fathers of Mount Athos, gather today, and shout with a voice of jubilation, leaping for joy, and faithfully keeping feast: For, behold, the praise of the Most Pure Theotokos wondrously and awesomely is sung by the Angel; and therefore, as the Mother of God, we glorify her name.
Kontakion: All of Athos keepeth feast this day in gladness; for it wondrously received from an Archangel’s Holy hand the Hymn whereby thou hast ever been praised as the Mother of God, as is truly meet.
A Monk at Prayer, by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich: A Monk at night, alone in Church, with a fervent Prayer, dispels darkness from his Soul, all at once, a Monk arrived, about him, nothing unusual, and, as an experienced cantor, began to chant. Then, the first Monk began: “More Honourable” Glorifying the Mother of God, Mother “More Glorious”.
To him, the miraculous guest spoke about this hymn of praise: “Among us,” said he, “this hymn we sing differently, as you began, we do not begin, rather with ‘Truly it is Meet,’ venerable father!”
And the entire hymn: “Truly it is Meet” he uttered, and the monk tried, not a word to omit. “Now I breathe easier, O my virtuous brother of your hymn, allow me to copy it!” But pencil he has not and not even paper has he, the Church is a place for Prayer and not for writing!
Then the guest at midnight traced the Church with a Cross and on the stone with his finger he began to write. As on soft wax, on the stone he wrote, at this man, the Monk was amazed.
Of the unusual guest, the Monk inquired: “Who are you?” “For you, may it be enough that my name is Gabriel.” At once he disappeared. The Monk with horror recognized the Archangel in the Monastic habit. That which he wrote, no one erased with heavenly fragrance, the Church was filled.
One evening a Monk was Praying the Service of the All-Night Vigil in his Cell. He heard a knock on the door, opened it, and welcomed in a Monk unkown to him, with the name of Gabriel.
They both Prayed together, standing before the Eleousa Icon of Our Most Holy Mother of God. At one point of the Service, the visiting Monk chanted something the other Monk hadn’t heard before, he chanted “It is truly meet to Bless thee, O Theotokos, Ever-Blessed and Most Pure, and the Mother of our God…”. Then he continued with the rest of the verse “More honourable than the Cherubim.…”. At this time the Most Holy Icon of Panagia was shining with a Heavenly light.
The Monk often chanted this Hymn and he really liked the new version he just heard, so he asked the visiting Monk Gabriel to write down the words. Having no pen or paper in the Cell, the Monk Gabriel took a roof tile and wrote the words of the Hymn onto it with his finger. The Monk then recognised this visitor to be the Holy Archangel Gabriel.
Archangel Gabriel, before leaving, said to the Monk, “Sing in this manner, and all the Orthodox as well.”
The Monk told his Abbott about this beautiful event, and they shared it with the Brotherhood. And as the Holy Archangel Gabriel instructed, we continue today to Chant this Heavenly Prayer to Our Most Holy Lady.
The Eleousa Icon of Our Most Holy Mother of God, before which the Monk Prayed together with Archangel Gabriel and revealed the Hymn of Axion Estin, is on Mount Athos. The roof tile with the Hymn written on it by the Archangel Gabriel is in Constantinople.
Over the years, many copies have been made of this Holy Icon, two of which are in Australia.
One is at the Holy Pantanassa Monastery in Sydney.
Another Icon of Panagia Axion Estin is at her Holy Monastery in Northcote, Victoria.