Icon Akimov 102.093 «The Icon of the Mother of God «Quick to Hearken»
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"In the Monastery Docheiariou at the Mt. Athos in a church especially built for it there is kept the famous icon of the Mother of God ""Quick to Hearken"". That is an ancient fresco with Hodegetria sawed out of a wall and set in the precious framework. It got famous in 1664 by the wonder of bringing an absent-minded monk to his senses. Concentration and attentiveness are among the most important Christian virtues. It is through inattentiveness to praying and attention to various vain thoughts suggested to one by demons the human soul is caught. Therefore the ascetic’s mind is always concentrated and self-disciplined.
The refectorian of the Monastery Docheiariou Nilus by name was absent-minded and inattentive. Every morning he went to the refectory with a burning splinter in the hand, and on his way blackened the image of the Mother of God that had been painted on the wall in passage. At last the Mother of God Herself reproached him. But Nilus did not even get where the voice came from, and decided that he simply did not in notice someone of brethren his usual fashion. He kept on going to the refectory blind as ever to the Most-Pure Face, nearly touching it with his splinter. And the voice again resounded but more threatening this time that blamed the monk for turpitude. And Nilus went blind. Since then the image had been particularly worshipped in the Monastery, the refectorian never going away for an instant in repentance. It took him some time to get released from the harsh punishment curative for his soul. But really a regal mercy was shown on him. His sight recovered, and the Most Holy Mother of God announced him the marvelous promise: Her icon would henceforth be the veil and the protection for the Monastery, and quick-to-hearken for all the Orthodox; every praying before this image would be heard, and everyone who fell down before it would be given mercy.
Russia has an icon ""Quick to Hearken"" of its own. Its iconography is shortened in comparison with the original of Athos. Here the Mother of God is pictured without Her Divine Son. The Most Holy Virgin Mary is shown only breast-high with her arm outstretched and very large against the face. Her gesture is marked with a certain duality: She is not only praying and invoking God for mercy upon human beings, but is also Herself endowing lavishly those who pray to Her with those mercy.
This icon is placed and particularly worshipped in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity of the Alexander Nevski Lavra in Saint-Petersburg. It is the donation of the Grand Duchess Elisabeth and her husband Duke Sergey. The icon was painted specially for them.
The copy made at the Mt. Athos for Russia itself became a source of numerous wonders. Multiple copies were made from it for many Russian churches. One of them we see on this small icon.
The small icon reverse shows a prayer: “Hail, Lady the Merciful, our help and salvation of our souls”.
Observance of the icon ""Quick to Hearken"" is carried out on November 22\9."
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