Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Miraculous Icon of the Virgin Mary, Everyone's Joy (Η Πάντων Χαρά)

The Miraculous Icon of the Virgin Mary of Pantoharas (15th century) was first placed in the Katholikon of the Monastery of Strofades, a small island south of Zante. Tradition dictates that Empress Irene Laskarina, passing by the Ionian Island of Zante with her navy, she stopped on the small island of Strofades and prayed to the Theotokos to cure her sister. The Virgin Mary heard her prayers and treated her sister. Upon her return the Empress stopped again on the island and told the monks what had happened, promising to them to do whatever they asked for. The monks who were on the island asked from her to build a monastery in a form of a fortress, so they could defend themselves from the pirates. Irene kept her promise and built the monastery. The monks, then, thanked the Virgin Mary, and in order to show their happiness towards the Mother of God, they named her the Panton Hara (Everyone's Joy). 

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