Commemorated on June 26, March 12
Not-Wrought-by-Hand Icon of the Mother of God (in Lydda on a Pillar): When
the holy Apostles Peter (Comm. 29 June and 16 January) and John the Theologian
(Comm. 8 May and 26 September) preached about the Lord Jesus Christ in the city
of Lydda (afterwards Diospolis), not far from Jerusalem, a church in the name
of the MostHoly Mother of God were made there for the newly-converted. Having
journeyed to Jerusalem, the apostles besought the Mother of God to visit it and
by Her presence to consecrate and bless the church. The All-Pure Virgin
replied: "Go in peace, I shalt there be with ye". Entering into the
church, they beheld the beautiful and wondrous Not-Wrought-by-Hand Image of the
MostHoly Mother of God. Later on, the Mother of God Herself visited the Lydda
church and bestowed upon the image Her especial grace and power.
During the time of
the rule of the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) there occurred at Lydda a
new miracle. Stone-masons were despatched into the church to destroy the
wonderworking image. However, as they attempted to chip away at the image, it
would not disappear, but rather receded more and more within the column. News
of the graced image spread throughout all the world. A copy was made from it,
which was conveyed to Rome and which likewise received miraculous power (Comm.
There existed also
another Lydda Not-Wrought-by-Hand Image of the Mother of God. It was situated
in a church built at Lydda by Aeneas, who had been healed by the Apostle Peter
(Acts 9: 32-35). When the pagans and the Jews wanted to take this church away from
the Christians, the governor gave orders that the church be locked up for three
days, until some sign should appear for resolving the dispute. And when they
opened the church three days later, they saw within it the Not-Wrought-by-Hand
Image of the Mother of God.
Three of the Eastern
Patriarchs (from Jerusalem, Antrioch and Alexandria) wrote about both of the
Not-Wrought-by-Hand Lydda icons in a Letter to the Iconoclast emperor
Theophilos (829-842). The emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitos (912-959) spoke
about the Letter in an historical account about the Not-Wrought-by-Hand Image
of the Saviour at Edessa (Comm. 16 August).
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.