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By Jill Kuramoto
You would never think a tiny parish in the heart of Kaka’ako would house such a secret. But, its existence is well-known to those in the Russian Orthodox faith.
An image of the Virgin Mary produces myrrh. There’s no explanation for it. Yet, for those who believe — it’s a miracle.
“It’s made us, perhaps, more humble towards God and the church,” said parishioner Coco Wiel. “We’ve started to realize we have a much bigger responsibility to take care of the parish.”
It’s known as the Iveron Icon of the Holy Theotokos. But, to parishioners, it’s simply a miracle.
It’s an image of the Mother Mary and Christ child that, for reasons unexplainable, produces myrrh. Small drops that smell like roses.
“Drops that appear like dew, like dew on grass,” said Father Antole Lyovin of the Holy Theotokos of Iveron Russian Orthodox Church. “A drop appears here, a drop appears there. And it starts flowing down. So, how can you fake that?”
The icon is actually a smaller reproduction of the original that resides in Greece. It, too, streams myrrh.
Hawaii’s icon began streaming the oil-like substance five years ago, on the 15th anniversary of the death of its original keeper, Brother Jose Munoz, who had wanted to visit the church in Honolulu named after the icon, but never made it to the islands.
“He asked Holy Mother Virgin Mary to bless our community just the same. So that’s what we think,” said Father Lyovin.
For those who believe, the holy myrrh is credited with helping cure a young girl diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“We prayed, we anointed her with myrrh and everything. It was such a tragedy for the family,” said Father Lyovin. “After the operations, the doctors said, turned out to be a very rare case in the United States. The first case where it turned out to be not so aggressive. After they cut it out, she went through chemo and now she’s back with us.”
Father Anatole says requests for the myrrh come from all over the world. The icon has been deemed a miracle by a committee of Orthodox priests who examined it themselves. Yet, the skeptics still abound.
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