Bright Tuesday - The Appearance of Panagia Portaitissa on Mount Athos🩸


On Bright Tuesday, the miraculous icon of Panagia Portaitissa, also known as "The Gate Keeper," is commemorated, which appeared at Mount Athos in 1004 AD. Notably, this icon bears a unique feature—a bleeding scar on the chin of the Virgin Mary.

Legend holds that the icon was painted by Luke the Evangelist, marking it as the first icon of the Theotokos. In the 9th century, it belonged to a devout widow from Nicea in Asia Minor, who kept it in her private chapel.

During the iconoclast period under Emperor Theophilus, soldiers came to the widow's house. Striking the icon with his sword, one soldier witnessed blood flowing from the gash on the Panagia's cheek. This miraculous sight prompted his repentance and conversion, leading him to a monastery.

Following the soldier's advice, the widow concealed the icon to protect it from further desecration. She eventually placed it in the sea, where it did not sink but drifted away. Many years later, it reappeared at Mount Athos.

In 1004 AD, St. Gabriel, a Georgian monk at Iveron Monastery, had a vision of the Panagia guiding him to the icon in the sea. He retrieved it and placed it in the monastery's altar. However, the icon repeatedly disappeared and was found above the monastery gate. In a dream, the Virgin Mary revealed her desire to be the protector of the monks at that spot.

Thus, the icon acquired the name "Portaitissa," signifying the Holy Theotokos's role as the gatekeeper and protector of Mount Athos and its monasticism. The original icon remains in the Georgian Iviron Monastery on Mount Athos, where it continues to perform miracles. It is also commemorated on February 12th.


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