ICON: Theotokos of the Three Hands

ICON: Theotokos of the Three Hands

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Inspired by the documentary, PISTEVO, the Orthodox Christian Network will be featuring iconography and the Saints of the Orthodox Church.  Iconography, the centuries-old tradition of depicting faith through images, was the primary means of teaching Christianity until written records were formally canonized as the Holy Scriptures.  Please join us in raising awareness of iconography as a window into heaven &  finding and fostering one’s faith.

St. John of Damascus (eighth century) was an outspoken critic of the iconoclasts, people who hated and destroyed icons. Unfortunately, the emperor at the time, Leo III the Isaurian, was an iconoclast. He was dedicated to destroying the use and veneration of icons in the Empire. Leo’s agents in Damascus learned about St. John, and reported him to the Caliph (Muslim ruler) of Damascus. The Caliph ordered John’s right hand be cut off, but John begged to be allowed to keep his hand, and he was allowed to.

John placed the hand against the stump, and held it there all night as, in great pain, he prayed on his knees before an icon of the Mother of God. In the morning, he found that his hand had been reattached, leaving only a red scar where the break used to be.

11897062_10204602010522826_1403642371_nIn thankfulness, he had a small silver hand attached to the icon. He carried it with him to St. Sava’s Monastery in the Holy Land, where he lived out his days as a monk. In the thirteenth century, the icon was given to St. Sava of Serbia, who took it to his homeland.

Later, when Serbia was invaded by the Turks, the monks placed it on a donkey, prayed to the Theotokos to watch over it, and turned it loose. It wandered, unguided, to the Holy Mountain, and stopped before the Serbian monastery, Hilander, where it remains to this day.


Please Share! – We Invite You to Share Your Faith & Icons

How Can You Get Involved?

1.  Share Your Favorite Saint(s) & Icons(s)

  • Take a photo of your favorite icon.
  • Write a few sentences of 30 words or less about your faith, the icon & the Saint’s significance in your life.

2.  Email the photo and text to:  InspiredbyPistevo@myocn.net 

  • We will notify you when your photo & text is uploaded to the Orthodox Christian Network web site (myocn.net) and Facebook page – – – and shared with millions worldwide!  We look forward to hearing from you.

INSPIRED BY PISTEVO

Inspired by the documentary, PISTEVO & The Greek Orthodox Church of Our Saviour in Rye, New York, the Orthodox Christian Network is embarking on a major initiative to feature iconography and the Saints of the Orthodox Church over the next several months and years to come.  Please watch  PISTEVO – “I Believe”, and join us in raising awareness of iconography as a window to finding and fostering one’s faith.

We invite you to share your experiences as to how icons have fostered your faith.  Please post to the Orthodox Christian Network’s Facebook page or email us at InspiredByPistevo@myocn.net.

ABOUT ICONOGRAPHY

Iconography, the centuries-old tradition of depicting faith through images, was the primary means of teaching Christianity until written records were formally canonized as the Holy Scriptures. Yet even today, centuries later, iconography remains a spiritually powerful part of Orthodox Christian theology.  For many, the images enhance one’s ability to go deeper into the exploration and appreciation of their faith.

Click here to view an archive of all Saint and Iconography posts.

WATCH PISTEVO

The independent documentary depicts a community coming together to complete the centuries-old mission of iconography led by Father Elias Villis at the Greek Orthodox Church of our Saviour in Rye, NY.

The epic film, PISTEVO, directed by  Director, Mark Brodie, and written and produced by Taryn Grimes Herbert,  expresses “why we honor the traditions of our theology and share our spiritual experience with the Orthodox world.”

Click here to visit The Art of Belief and watch the full length film – PISTEVO.


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About author
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Alex Riggle

Alex Riggle is a middle-school math teacher and a tonsured Orthodox reader. He is the editor of The Onion Dome, a blog of Orthodox humor, and is working on a saint-of-the-day book for publication. Reader Alex is passionate about the saints and wishes for every Orthodox Christian to grow in knowledge of and love for our great family in Heaven.