Bishop Varlaam on Panagia Prodromitissa’s feast: From the saints we have relics, from the Mother of God we have wonderworking icons

The day of commemoration of the holy icon of the Mother of God called “Prodromitissa” or “Forerunneress” is the summer patronal feast of the Chapel of the Romanian People’s Salvation Cathedral. The chapel has, for almost 10 years (October 2011), a copy of this representation whose original is enshrined at the Romanian Skete of the Honourable Forerunner on Mount Athos.

On this occasion, the patriarchal auxiliary bishop Varlaam of Ploiești celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Chapel’s outdoor altar.

Addressing those present at the Divine Liturgy, His Grace brought to mind the emblematic exhortation of the Mother of God at the wedding at Cana of Galilee: “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2: 5).

“We are happy if, looking at this icon, we hear in the depths of our conscience and heart the words of the Mother of God at Cana of Galilee: ‘Do whatever He tells you.’ And by doing what He tells us, that is, everything that He commands and urges us in His Holy Gospel, we will become heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven,” Bishop Varlaam said July 12.

The hierarch briefed the history of the miraculous painting of the original Prodromitissa icon, when the face of the Virgin Mary and the Baby Jesus miraculously appeared, not being painted by human hand. He also mentioned how a copy of this wonderworking icon arrived at the National Cathedral’s  Chapel, in response to the Romanians’ love for the Mother of God.

Bishop Varlaam of Ploiești explained that “the most wonderworking icons are the icons of the Mother of God, because Christ performed His first miracle at the urge of His Most Holy Mother at the wedding at Cana of Galilee. Since then, she has become the warmest, most fervent intercessor to God for us humans.”

“In the case of the saints, we have their holy wonderworking relics, in the case of the Mother of God, being lifted up to heaven so that she would not know the corruption of death, we are left with her holy icons.”

“The first icons were painted by Saint Luke the Evangelist, who was both a physician and an iconographer. That is why today’s icons are identical with the portrait of the Mother of God that the Church has kept in her ever-living memory. Because the icons of Saint Luke have been multiplied and spread all over the world,” the patriarchal auxiliary bishop noted.

“Let us ascribe glory to God that we have at this Chapel of the National Cathedral, next to the relics of Saint John Chrysostom, this wonderworking icon of the Mother of God. Every time the love for Her calls us or when the needs compass us, let us come here to take, from this holy icon, from the portrait of the Mother of God and of His Beloved Son, power to carry on the struggle of life and encouragement to increase our faith and hope,” the hierarch urged ending his sermon.


Photography courtesy of / Raluca Ene

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