JORDANVILLE: December 1, 2007
Holy Trinity Monastery Marks the 25 th Anniversary of the Revelation of the Myrrh-Streaming Iveron Icon of the Mother of God
A memorable and religiously significant event was celebrated with great solemnity in the Russian Diaspora, from November 23 to 25, 2007: it was exactly 25 years ago that the Lord called Joseph (Jose) Munoz-Cortes – in secret monastic tonsure, Monk Amvrossy - an Orthodox Chilean of Spanish ancestry living in Canada, an art historian and iconographer. to perform a special kind of service. That service began at the Skete of the Nativity of the Savior, on Holy Mt. Athos.
There, in the earthly province of the Theotokos, brother Joseph was given custody of a copy of the renowned “Portaitissa” (Keeper of the Portal) Icon of the Mother of God, a copy which, on the night of November 23-24 1982, by means unfathomable to the human mind, began to stream Myrrh. From then on, the Chosen One of the Theotokos traveled to practically all of the cities and countries of the world where there were Orthodox churches, except to Russia, where people were waiting for the Miraculous Icon more anxiously than anywhere else. Because of the jealous zeal of the previous ecclesiastical authority of the Russian Church Abroad, it was a country brother Joseph was not permitted to visit.
The custodian of the Myrrh-streaming Icon of the Mother of God performed his 15 years' service with the greatest of humility, and sealed it with martyric death in the night 10 years ago, in Athens on the eve of October 31, while the entire apostate world was celebrating “Halloween” and the Orthodox Church was celebrating the day of the Apostle and Evangelist Luke, the first iconographer and patron saint of artists.
This year, on those memorable days, parishioners of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Washington, DC, USA, together with their rector, Archpriest Victor Potapov, made their tenth annual pilgrimage to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, in whose cemetery brother Joseph Munoz-Cortes found his final earthly resting place.
In addition to the almost one hundred pilgrims coming from Washington, many dozens of the faithful from all over the United States and Canada, as well as guests from Russia and France, gathered at the site. They were all brought together by a pious reverence for the lost Holy Icon and love for brother Joseph.
At the grave, next to the cemetery chapel, Fr. Victor, accompanied by the parish choir, served Panikhida [requiem] services three times, including a service on November 24 attended by Metropolitan Laurus, First-hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. In the Holy Trinity Church, Metropolitan Laurus, assisted by Fr. Victor and by the brethren of the Monastery, served Divine Liturgies, Festal Matins, All-night Vigils, and Molebens (prayer services). All of the Divine Services took place before an exact copy of the Montreal-Iveron Icon, brought from the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Washington.
The copy had been written for the first anniversary of the vicious murder of brother Joseph, in the very same Athonite Nativity Skete, by Schema-hieromonk Chrysostom, the very same iconographer who had created the original Myrrh-streaming Icon which disappeared at the time of Its custodian's death. By the way, the Icon's precious riza was made by the Greek master-jeweler Emmanuel Manolis Argiris, who had previously made one to order [for the original icon] for brother Joseph. It is decorated with pearls and precious stones similar to the ones in the original riza, although the former ones were unique, “Royal” stones, collected through donations by parishioners all over the Russian Diaspora.
During the pilgrimage, an exhibition was held in the Holy Trinity Assembly Hall. On display were items belonging to brother Joseph: icons he had written, sketches, watercolors, diaries, letters, and also reliquary crosses, prayer ropes, brushes, and paints… In the same Hall, a one-day conference took place on November 24.
At the conference, lectures regarding the appearance of the Myrrh-streaming Montreal “Portaitissa” Icon and the death of her chosen one were given by Fr. Victor Potapov and the author of these words. Dr. Henri Macoux, an anesthesiologist from France told of having made the brother Joseph's acquaintance in the Lesno Monastery in Provemont, and as a result having his entire life turned upside down. Maria Psarev, a historian and archivist working in Jordanville, and Liudmilla Veremeichuk, a pilgrim from Russia, shared accounts of miraculous assistance received from the Myrrh-streaming “Montreal Iveron Icon” of the Most-holy Theotokos and according to the prayers of brother Joseph, who is revered among the people as a holy martyr.
The prayerful commemoration of the 25 th Anniversary of the appearance of the Myrrh-streaming Montreal-Iveron Icon and the 10 th Anniversary of the day Its custodian was murdered was yet another reminder of the Great Sign which over the course of many years brought grace to the lives of faithful Russian people both in the Diaspora and in the Homeland, and which enabled heterodox people to be enlightened with spiritual sight. The blood of the martyrs and confessors, shed for the Faith, is the seed of the Church, bearing fruit in Christ's fields. Thus it was, and thus it ever shall be.
Rejoice, o Blessed Keeper of the Portal, who openest the gates of Heaven!
Anna Anatolievaîânà Simonova , doctoral candidate in historical studies, member of the Union of Journalists and Moscow Union of Writers