February 3rd – Feast Day of the Icon of the Mother of God “Joy and Consolation.” Patronal Feast Day of our Church in Montreal, Canada.
On this festive Sunday, the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God “Joy and Consolation” in Montreal, Canada, received an archpastoral visit from its ruling bishop, Archbishop Andronik of Syracuse and St. Nicholas, on its Patronal Feast Day. He was warmly greeted by the parish and by its rector Archpriest George Tsap. Vladyka served the Divine Liturgy at which more than 20 people prayed.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Archbishop Andronik gave a sermon in which he related the story of the icon of “Joy and Consolation.”
Everyone then took part in a trapeza organized by the sisterhood and Vladyka answered questions from the rector and parishioners. With his visit at an end, Vladyka departed for his residence in Mountain View, NY.
Icon of the Mother of God “Joy and Consolation”
The original icon resides in the Vatopedi monastery on Mt. Athos and its origin dates back to the 9th century.
The traditional legend of the Vatopedi monastery recounts that pirates once planned to attack the monastery. They hid beneath the monastery walls and were ready at the break of dawn, as soon as the monastery gate opened, to break into the monastery, plundering all of its treasures and killing all of the monks.
That morning, inside the monastery matins had been concluded and the brethren had dispersed to their cells for a brief rest after the lengthy standing for morning prayers. Only the abbot remained in the church. And then suddenly he heard the voice of the Theotokos emanating from Her icon. The Theotokos warned the abbot of the impending danger. The hegumen looked at the icon and saw that the images of the Mother of God and of the Christ Child had changed: The Infant God raised His hand, blocking the mouth of the Theotokos, and angrily said: “No, Mother, do not tell them, let them be punished for their sins.” However, the Mother of God turned from the hand of Her Son and repeated the warning twice: “Do not open the monastery gate today but go to the monastery walls and drive off the pirates.”
The hegumen immediately gathered all of the brethren. They said a prayer of gratitude and then climbed the walls of the monastery and repelled the attack of the pirates.
According to the monastery’s legend, the icon has retained the same altered appearance as on the day of the attack. Since that time the icon of the Mother of God “Joy and Consolation” has been one of the monastery’s greatest holy treasures.