Thursday, April 23, 2009

St. George, the Protector of the Holy Monasteries of Zographou and Xenophontos

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!

St. George the Great Martyr and the Monastery of Zographou on Mount Athos (taken from: http://agioritikesmnimes.pblogs.gr/2009/04/220-o-agios-gewrgios-prostaths-ths-i-m-zwgrafoy.html)
  
The following is the account of three miraculous icons of St. George the Great-martyr and Trophy-bearer present at Zographou (or Zograf) Monastery, and one at Xenophontos Monastery on Mount Athos. They are the two monasteries that are dedicated to St. George on the Holy Mountain. The accounts are taken from For the Glory of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit: A History of Eastern Orthodox Saints, Translations from the Great Synaxarites, by Michael James Fochios. May St. George, who continues to work so many miracles throughout the world, intercede for all of us and help us!
  
The Holy Monastery of Zographou (or Zograf) on Mount Athos (taken from: http://www.mlahanas.de/Greece/Regions/MonasteryOfZografou.html)
  
"In the year 919, three brothers - Moses, Aaron, and Vasilios - went to Mount Athos to become monks. They built three tents in a large valley near the river. They also built a small church near there, but were skeptical about what saint to name the church after. They prepared the board on which the icon of the patron saint of the church was to be painted, however, they did not paint the icon because they could not decide to which saint the church should be dedicated. When the monks went to the church the next morning, they found that an icon of Saint George had been painted on the board. The icon was painted in an ancient style. The miracle showed the brothers that God wanted their church dedicated to Saint George.
  

Procession in the Holy Monastery of Zographou with an icon of St. George (taken from: http://agioritikesmnimes.pblogs.gr/2009/04/220-o-agios-gewrgios-prostaths-ths-i-m-zwgrafoy.html)
  
The institution which the brothers had established was named the Monastery of Zographos, or the Monastery of the Painter because of the icon's miraculous appearance.
  
The following is considered to be the history of this icon before its appearance in the Monastery of Zographos. This icon was originally in the Monastery of Phanouel, located in Lidan. From the time that Evstratios was the abbot of this monastery, the icon had performed many miracles. One day in the presence of the monks, the icon came off the piece of wood on which it had been painted and disappeared from their sight. The monks were extremely saddened by this event and felt that God had forsaken them. Then, the Abbot Evstratios saw Saint George before him and the Saint told him not to weep for him for he was on Mount Athos. The abbot told the other brothers of his vision. Evstratios left the monastery and after going to Jerusalem, he embarked on his journey to Mount Athos. After searching in many of the monasteries for the icon, he finally came upon the Monastery of Zographos. When he entered the church, he saw the icon hanging without anything supporting it. Evstratios remained at that monastery until his other brothers came to see the miracle.


The miraculous, "acheiropoietos" (not made by human hands) icon of St. George the Great-martyr in Zographou Monastery (taken from: http://agioritikesmnimes.pblogs.gr/2009/04/220-o-agios-gewrgios-prostaths-ths-i-m-zwgrafoy.html)
  
That icon performed the following miracle. Bishop Vothenon visited the monastery and began to question the events without faith. Pointing to the icon, he laughed and said, "Is this the miraculous icon?" He placed his finger on the icon and there it stuck. To this day, visitors to the monastery can still see the finger hanging on the icon.
  
A close-up of the above icon of St. George. A small piece of the doubting hierarch's finger can still be seen attached to St. George's face (taken from: http://agioritikesmnimes.pblogs.gr/2009/04/220-o-agios-gewrgios-prostaths-ths-i-m-zwgrafoy.html)
  
[The second miraculous icon of St. George at Zographou Monastery]
This icon was found in the harbor of the Monastery of Vatopedion. Later it was discovered that the icon had originally come from Arabia. The abbots of the different monasteries began to argue as to whom the icon belonged. They decided to place the icon on the back of a donkey. The onager was left on the cross roads between Mount Athos and Salonika. It was agreed that whichever monastery the donkey went to could rightfully claim the icon. The donkey proceeded to the Monastery of Zographos. After the donkey arrived there, it died. The icon was placed on the left pillar of the church, opposite the other miraculous icon of Saint George.


The miraculous icon of St. George, originally from Arabia, and to the right, an ornate kollyva made by the fathers to honor St. George (taken from: http://agioritikesmnimes.pblogs.gr/2009/04/220-o-agios-gewrgios-prostaths-ths-i-m-zwgrafoy.html)
  
[The third miraculous icon of St. George at Zographou]
On the third pillar of the Church of Saint George of the Monastery of Zographos hangs a third icon of the Saint. This icon had belonged to the ruler of Moldavia (Rumania), Stephen. When ever he went into battle, Stephen would carry this icon with him. After capturing Constantinople, the Turks came to the land ruled by Stephen. He decided to fight the Turks inside the walls of the city. He saw a vision of Saint George which told him that the Saint would help him to be victorious. After the battle, Stephen took the icon to the Monastery of Zographos and gave a great deal of money for the purpose of beautifying this holy place.

The Miraculous Icon of Saint George in the Monastery of Xenophontos on Mount Athos
During the Iconoclast Period, several soldiers had taken an icon of Saint George and thrown it into a fire with other icons. When the fire had died, some bystanders saw that it had not consumed the icon of Saint George, but had damaged only a small portion of it. One soldier ran his sword into the face of the Saint. Blood emerged from this spot. The soldiers were so frightened that they ran. Some Iconodules who witnessed this miracle, took the icon to protect it from the soldiers in case they returned. They took it to the shore and placed it into the water. Then they prayed to the Saint to guide his icon to a place where it would continue to perform miracles. The icon landed at the Monastery of Xenophone on Mount Athos. The blood stains and the burnt clothing of the Saint can still be seen on the icon.
(taken from: http://www.stgeorgecharleston.org/stgeorge.html)
  

Late 12th century portable mosaic icon of St. George the Great-martyr from the Monastery of Xenophontos, Mount Athos (I don't think this is the miraculous icon mentioned above, but is nonetheless a priceless treasure of the Monastery) (taken from: http://www.ucc.ie/milmart/grgestic24l.jpg)
  
Doxastikon of the Praises for the feast of St. George - Plagal of the 1st Tone
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
Spring is here: come, let us be merry. And Christ’s resurrection has shone brightly: come, let us be joyous. The memory of the prize-winning Martyr has come upon us, gladdening the faithful. Therefore, come all who are fond of feasts, let us celebrate it mystically. For as a good soldier, he stood up manfully against the tyrants and put them utterly to shame, and thus emulated the Passion of Christ the Savior. He had no mercy on the clay vessel of his own body, but rather taking it naked he reforged and exchanged it by means of tortures. Unto him let us cry aloud: O victorious Martyr, earnestly entreat for the salvation of our souls.
(text taken from Fr. Seraphim Dedes at: http://sgpm.goarch.org/ematins/bilingual/Apr23.pdf)
  
Christ is Risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

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