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Icon of the Theotokos “Abbess of Mt. Athos” – T88

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This modern icon shows the Virgin without her Divine Son, which is rare in Orthodox iconography.  Here we see her standing on Mount Athos (a monastic pennisula dedicated to her, now in northeastern Greece), called the Garden of the Theotokos,  where she is considered the head of every monastic enclosure on this sacred land.  For over a thousand years this monastic enclave has nurtured the life of monasticism and the Church by producing hundreds and hundreds of living Saints.  May they continue to do so in every generation to come!

Church tradition tells us that when the Virgin was journeying to Cyprus to visit Saint Lazarus, the ship was blown off course, so it anchored at Mount Athos.  When the Holy Virgin came ashore, the many idols and temples of demons there toppled and crashed at once.  She blessed the peninsula, saying. “Let this spot be my portion; here let me abide.”  She then reembarked and returned to her home near the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.  This was her first visit to Mt. Athos, but it was by no means her last or final appearance on the Holy Mountain. 

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Church Feast Day 1



Egg Tempera


St. Nicholas Kellion, Mt. Athos, Greece


20th c. (Late)