Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
October 5, 2009
Local Orthodox invite Catholics to visit revered Marian icon
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON - In the spirit of friendship, Orthodox Christians have invited Roman Catholics and Byzantine Catholics to participate in a grace-filled visitation.
The Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God is one of Orthodox Christians' most venerated icons. The sacred icon arrived in Toronto from southwest Ukraine Sept. 22 in the company of two monks and a married priest.
The icon remains in Canada until Oct. 11, and will visit Edmonton Oct. 5-7.
The Orthodox churches in Ukraine are striving to be more ambassadorial with the rest of the world, said Father Phillip Eriksson, parish priest at St. Herman of Alaska Sobor, 9930-167 St.
"Now that the (Orthodox) Church is back in a place where it has got some freedom, the churches of Ukraine and Russia are trying to have a little more interaction with the rest of the Orthodox community.
"We are working very hard on developing friendships," said Eriksson.
The icon is permanently housed in the Pochaev Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Ukraine. This is its inaugural visit to Canada.
"We are excited about it coming here, and opening our home in the hand of fellowship and friendship," said Eriksson, who has invited Archbishop Richard Smith, Catholic clergy and parishioners, and Byzantine Catholics to attend.
"With regards to the invitation to the Catholic clergy and faithful, as well as to the Byzantine-rite Catholics, our parish felt that we wished to extend the hand of friendship to those who, like us, have a deep respect both for the Theotokos (Mother of God) and also for the way in which God, down through the ages, has used holy icons as a witness to the incarnation and to the proclaiming of the Gospel," Eriksson told the WCR.
BRINGING PEOPLE TO FAITH
There are many holy places and holy things throughout the world that God has used to bring people to faith, illumination, healing and salvation.
To have one of the notable ones "come to us" rather than us "going to it" is something Erikksson wished to share.
The image on the icon, written in tempera in the Byzantine style, measures 13 inches by 10.5 inches.
It depicts the Mother of God tenderly inclining her head toward Jesus, whom she holds in her right hand. With the other hand, she covers his feet with a napkin.
On both sides and on the lower part of the icon are miniature images of seven saints.
In 1869, the icon was encased in a star-shaped frame, the rays of which are inlaid with pearls and diamonds.
The people of Kiev claim that the miracle-working icon saved them from cholera in 1848. The icon is attributed for numerous miracles.
Monday, Oct. 5 at 3 p.m. is a greeting of the icon at St. Herman's, with an Akathist service to follow at 7 p.m. The next morning is Divine Liturgy at 9 a.m. and a second Akathist service at 7 p.m. Oct. 7 is a moleben (service of intercession) at 1 p.m.
PRAISE AND GLORY
"Akathist basically means 'standing' and is any of a number of services at which we stand and in part give praise and glory to God while also exploring how God has used a saint, event or icon in the furtherance of bringing salvation to humanity," explained Eriksson.
Besides Edmonton, the icon visits Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg and Regina.
All are welcome to attend the services at St. Herman of Alaska Sobor. For more information, call 780-484-9804.
Letter to the Editor - 10/26/09
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