by Ann Rodgers
An icon from Hawaii that Orthodox Church authorities have officially declared to be miraculous, and which exudes a sweet-smelling oil they have identified as myrrh, will visit St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, on Friday morning, Oct. 7, 2011. It will be on display for veneration from 8 a.m. until about 2 p.m., with a formal religious service at 9 a.m.
The icon, which depicts the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus, is a replica of a replica, but its healing qualities are said to be the real thing. The original Iveron Icon of the Mother of God resides in the ancient Iveron Monastery on Mount Athos, an independent peninsula of Orthodox monasteries off Greece. Monastic tradition holds that it was created by the Apostle Luke.
A copy of the icon was taken to Montreal, Canada, in 1982 and it reportedly soon began to stream the type of myrrh used for anointing newly ordained Orthodox priests. Years later the Sofrino Church Supply Company in Russia made a replica of the Montreal Iveron Icon. It came into the possession of an Orthodox priest in Hawaii, who gave it to one of his parishioners in the summer of 2007.
Here’s the press release that accompanies the icon:
“It was in October 2007 that the believer, Reader Nectarios, smelled a strong fragrance of roses coming from the area in which the icon was placed in his home. As he approached the area searching for the source of the strong aroma, he noticed that the icon of the Mother of God that he had received as a gift was completely saturated with the fragrant myrrh. After notifying the parish priest, the icon was brought to the church and completely wiped dry. A service of intercession was held before he icon and, by the end of the service, the icon was again streaming myrrh and the church was filled with the fragrance of roses.
“To this very day, many people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds come to venerate the icon of the Mother of God and ask for her assistance with their troubles and maladies, as well as their physical ailments and spiritual needs.”
In June 2008 Archbishop Kyrill, the bishop of San Francisco for the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, officially recognized the Hawaiian Myrrh-Streaming Iveron Icon as miraculous and genuine. It is now traveling the United States for wider veneration and is said to continue to stream myrrh.