Feast Day: December 9th
About the Icon of the Mother of God The Unexpected Joy: In the writings of Saint Dimitri of Rostov there is an instructive narrative about a certain sinner who unexpectedly experienced the joy of repentance before an Icon of the Mother of God…
Troparion: O ye faithful people, let us celebrate in spirit today, glorifying the fervent helper of the Christian race; and, hastening to her all-pure image, let us cry out thus: O all-merciful Mistress and Theotokos, grant unexpected joy to us who are weighed down by sins and many sorrows, and deliver us from all evil, entreating thy Son, Christ Our God, that He save our Souls.
Kontakion: We have no other help, we have no other hope, but you, O Lady. Help us, for in you we hope, and of you we boast, for we are your servants. Let us not be put to shame.
Prayer: Mistress, thou dost intercede for all who with faith flee to thy mighty protection; for, weighed down by many sins we sinners have no other sure deliverance amid misfortunes mid tribulations. O all-pure one, Mother of God Most High, haste thou to help thy servants.
Prayer: Desiring to pour forth the abundant riches of Grace upon His faithful, the Saviour scattered the Icons of His Mother like stars shining among the Orthodox lands, pouring forth the Grace of Miracles and bestowing healings, peace and great mercy.
Prayer: He who speaketh of Thy power, O Lord, maketh all Thy praises heard; for Thou hast given Thine All-Pure Mother to the Christian race as a bold Mediatress who leadeth sinners to Thee, who granteth unexpected joy to them, and asketh peace and great mercy for us.
Prayer: O All-Pure Mother of God Most High, thou art the helper of all the sorrowful and oppressed, the feeder of the starving, the comfort of travelers, the haven of the tempest-tossed, the visitation of the sick, the protection of the weak, the support of the elderly: hasten thou to help thy servants.
Prayer: Thy Miraculous Icon hath shone forth upon us like the all-radiant sun, O Mistress, pouring forth the rays of thy goodness in abundance: health for the sick, consolation for the sorrowful, and for our Souls deliverance from misfortunes, peace and great mercy.
by Saint Dimitri of Rostov…
This sinner had the habit of Praying each day to the Blessed Virgin, often repeating the Archangel’s greeting: “Rejoice, O Virgin full of grace!”, yet afterwards going out and sinning.
Once, before routinely going out to sin, he turned to the Holy Image and fearfully saw the Holy Virgin standing live with her Divine Son in her arms. The Infant had wounds on His hands and feet, and blood was flowing from a wound in His side, just as it had been on the Cross.
The sinner fell to his knees and cried out: “O Mistress! Who did this?” “You and other sinners. Over and over again you crucify My Son by your sins, just as the Jews had done,” – the Theotokos answered softly. “Have mercy upon me,” – tearfully cried out the sinner. “You call me the Mother of Mercy, yet you offend me and bring me sorrow by your deeds.” “No, Mistress,” – the sinner cried out in fear. – May my malice not overcome your indescribable kindness and mercy! You alone are the hope and safe haven of all sinners! Have mercy upon me, O benevolent Mother! Entreat your Son and my Creator on my behalf.”
Seeing a Soul being purified by repentance, the Most Blessed Mother began to entreat Her Son: “My benevolent Son! For the sake of My love have mercy upon this sinner.” But the Son replied to Her: “Do not be angry, My Mother, if I do not obey You. I, too, entreated My Father to have this cup of suffering pass Me by.” Over and over the Mother of God entreated her Son, reminding Him how she had nurtured Him at her breast, how she had suffered at His Cross. But the Lord would not bend down to mercy. Then the Mother of God arose, put her Son down, and was ready to fall at His feet. “What do you wish to do, Mother?!” – cried out the Son. “I shall remain, – she replied, – lying at Your feet together with this sinner until You forgive him his sins.” Then the Son said: “The law requires a son to venerate his mother, while justice demands that the giver of the law be himself obedient to the law. I am your Son, you are My Mother; I am obliged to do you homage by fulfilling your request. Let it be as you wish! His sins are now forgiven for your sake! And as a token of forgiveness, let him press his lips to My wounds.”
The sinner arose, with trembling and joy kissed the Most Holy wounds of the Infant, and came to himself.
When the vision ended, he felt within his heart both awe and joy. His Soul exulted, streams of tears ran down his face. He kissed the Icon, filled with gratitude for having found repentance and forgiveness, and Prayed that he be granted the gift to always see his sins and repent of them. His life changed completely and remained God-pleasing to the end of his days.