Icon of the Mother of God of Cyprus


Commemorated on July 9

In this icon. the Mother of God is depicted sitting on a throne with the Divine Infant in Her arms. There is an angel on either side of Her.

The prototype of this holy icon manifested itself in 392 on the island of Cyprus at the tomb of Righteous Lazarus, the friend of Christ, and is kept there in a monastery. Renowned copies of the Cyprus Icon are at Moscow’s Dormition Cathedral, and in the Nikolo-Golutvin Church in the village of Stromyn outside of Moscow.

During the week of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the Greek Synaxarion has an account of an icon which is probably the Cyprus Icon. On the island of Cyprus, a certain Arab was passing by a church dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos. In order to display his hatred for Christianity, the man shot an arrow at an icon of the Mother of God which hung by the gate. The arrow struck the Virgin’s face, from which blood began to flow. Overcome with fear, the Arab spurred his horse and rode for home, but was struck dead before he could get there. In this way, he was punished for his impiety.

Other days commemorating the Cyprus Icon are the Day of the Holy Spirit, April 20, and July 9. Some copies of the Cyprus Icon have additional names such as “Cleansing,” “Knife,” and “Hawk.”

The “Stromyn” Cyprus Icon became famous in 1841. An eighteen-year-old girl from Stromyn, a village not far from Moscow, was close to death from an illness. In a dream, she saw the Cyprus Icon standing over the entrance to the church, and a voice came from the icon: “Take me into your home and have the priest serve a Molieben with the Blessing of Water, and you will be cured.”

The sick girl was brought to the church and located the icon after a long search. She obeyed the command of the Most Holy Theotokos, and after the Molieben, she felt strong enough to carry the icon back to the church herself. Shortly thereafter, she was completely healed. The “Stromyn” Cyprus Icon continued to work miracles of healing, which the rector of the church reported to the holy Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)