Monday, 10 June 2013

Miracle Healing by The Theotokos through her Holy Icon "The Panagia Cassiope"

The Panagia Cassiope

“An Account Of The Ineffable Miracle Wrought By The Holy And August Icon Of Our All-holy Lady The Panagia of Cassiope For The Unjustly-blinded Stephen Who Wondrously Received Eyes Again.

Which the Holy Church commemorates on May 8.

A certain woman seeth her son with eyes today,

Yet she beheld him not with those eyes wherewith he saw before.

On the eighth of May God’s Mother gave eyes to the blind man.

When Simon Leone Balbi was governor of Corfu, in the year of our salvation 1530, a youth named Stephen was returning from the city to his village, having accomplished his purpose. On the way, he encountered other wayfarers with whom he walked together. At some distance from the city they encountered certain youths who were returning from the mill bringing with them flour. Whereupon Stephen’s fellow travellers, because they were vile men and of evil counsel, said “What hinders us from taking this flour and dividing it among ourselves. No one will see us.”

But Stephen, being a just man, as soon as he heard these things, endeavored to hinder them as much as he could with many admonishments, saying that this which they were plotting to do was a beastly thing, and that if they did it they would not escape just punishment as thieves and evil-doers. But they, like asps, stopping up their ears (Ps. 57:4), would not listen, rather they even attempted to convince Stephen to become an accomplice to the robbery. He, on his part, would in no wise consent to this. Whereupon, having first beaten the youths, they seized the flour and proceeded to their homes rejoicing. The youths, on their part, when they returned home empty-handed and weeping, related to their relatives what had happened. And they, searching diligently, ascertained who the thieves were and reported the deed to the ruler.

Stephen was also accused together with the thieves, since the victims had seen him in their company, yet they did not know that he had tried to hinder them and that he had not aided them in any way. Those that were guilty of the theft, knowing their guilt, hid in order not to be apprehended and be punished as was meet. But Stephen, since he was innocent, went to the city without any fear. Hence, when he approached, he was recognized and arrested by the soldiers of the ruler and cast into prison. Afterwards, he was led bound before the governor for interrogation. On being questioned, he told the whole truth, that is, that he was walking together with the thieves, but that he took no part in the robbery and that he was unjustly accused. But in vain did he strive to convince the ruler. The words of the just Stephen appeared to the judge as false, for the judge thought him to be a thief and like the others.

Judged guilty unjustly, therefore, by the governor, the innocent Stephen was called upon to choose which punishment he preferred, the privation of his eyes or the cutting off of his hands. And because the punishment of the privation of his eyes seemed lighter to Stephen, he chose this. Whereupon, leading him weeping and mourning to the customary place of punishment, they gouged out his eyes in the presence of many people. After he was blinded, his mother, weeping and lamenting, brought him to the church of St. Lazarus in order to seek alms.

But most of the people in that place mocked and reproached him as one who had justly suffered punishment, that as a thief he forcefully took what did not belong to him. On the other hand, since they who took compassion on him were few indeed, he thought — according to divine providence, of course — to go with his mother to the church of the Theotokos which was in the village of Cassiope, by the sea, and which was at a distance of eighteen miles from the city of Corfu. In this church there is found the wonderworking icon of the Theotokos, and having an adequate quay outside the church, the boats would all moor there out of reverence for the all-holy Theotokos. It is at this place that Stephen thought to go and ask for alms from those who came to reverence the holy icon of the Theotokos. His mother also agreed to this.

They went, therefore, to the church of the Mother of God, and after worshipping as was proper, with laments and sighs they recounted to the monk that was there the unjust misfortune which they had suffered and the reason why they betook themselves there. They also asked for a small cell in which to stay. He replied that until the brother who had the keys for the cells returned (for he was absent), they could stay in the church. Stephen’s mother, exhausted as she was from the journey, reclined and fell asleep immediately.

But Stephen, unable to sleep because of his pains, fell asleep only a little and very lightly at that. During the night — O thy marvels, most holy Theotokos! — he felt hands touching him and pressing against his eyes so much that he awoke crying out loudly and wondering who it was that had touched him so firmly. Beholding a certain Lady resplendent and full of light, who disappeared in a few moments, he thought to himself that it was a dream and not real. But on turning, he saw the icon lamps lit and he marvelled greatly, and was perplexed concerning how and what it was that had taken place. Awakening his mother, he said to her, “Who lit the lamps?” She on her part, thinking that her son was seeing a delusion in his sleep, began to weep and told him to be quiet and go to sleep. “Woe is me,” she said, “not only hath he lost his eyes, but now he hath lost his mind also from the shock and pain, and, though being without eyes, he saith that he seeth.”

But Stephen would not listen, and insisted that he actually saw the lamps, and even the holy icon of the Mother of God, and that what he was saying was not of his fancy. Then he related to her what had happened to him a little earlier, and that he had called out to her, but that she did not hear him because she had been sound asleep. His mother, therefore, perceived that this must be a divine manifestation. Whereupon, she arose immediately, and gazing carefully at the face of Stephen, she observed that truly he had eyes, and that whereas formerly he had had dark eyes, he now had blue eyes. Wherefore, from the great joy and awesome fear which overcame her she began to shout loudly and to weep, glorifying God and calling continually upon the name of the most-glorious Mother of God. Both she and her son began to clap their hands and to magnify the all-holy Theotokos.

Hearing the shouts and the clamor, and because it was before the appointed time of arising for the services, the monk who took care of the church became angry and began to reproach them as unruly and evil people, adding that they had been justly punished as such. But Stephen and his mother only continued shouting and relating the marvels of God. The monk, astonished and disbelieving because of the greatness of the miracle, came down into the church. He then beheld him who but a little before had been blind, now having eyes and seeing. Wherefore he departed immediately for the city. Finding the governor Balbi in the court house, he cried out against him, and accused him of being lawless. But those present attempted to expel the monk, saying to him, “It is not lawful to dare with such audacity to confront those which are in authority, and to be haughty and high-minded in such a manner.” He, on his part, shouted even more so, saying, “If Stephen had not been unjustly blinded by him, God would not have given him other eyes through the intercession of the Theotokos!” On hearing this, the governor sent certain notables, who, on their return, reported that the words of the monk were true. Then Balbi, accompanied by notables, went himself to the shrine, by means of the governor’s caravel, and all beheld with their own eyes this great miracle and, as was meet, they marvelled greatly.

But the governor Balbi still entertained a doubt, thinking that it was not Stephen himself whom he saw, or that he had not truly been blinded, even as the Jews also had similar doubts concerning the blind man to whom our Lord Jesus Christ gave eyes. The greatness of the miracle did not permit the governor and certain others to accept it immediately. On returning to the city, therefore, Balbi called the executioner and said to him, “Did you take out Stephen’s eyes even as I had ordered?” The executioner verified then that indeed he had blinded him, and that the eyes which had been gouged out were still in the bucket, since it had been only the day before that he had done it. He went, therefore, and brought the eyes. When the governor saw them, he believed that the miracle was genuine, especially since he saw that the eyes were of a hue different from those which Stephen had received anew. It should also be noted that on Stephen’s face there were still evident the wounds of the iron implement by which his eyes had been gouged out.

This, of course, happened by divine providence, so that the miracle might be proclaimed and be believed in as indisputable, that is, by the scars and the different color of the eyes. For if the eyes had been of the same hue, many might have said that they were the same eyes and that they had not been taken out. In this manner, therefore, the miracle was reported throughout all of Corfu and was believed by all. Then Balbi called Stephen and asked his forgiveness for the injustice which he had inflicted upon him out of ignorance. Rewarding him with goodly gifts and attending to him with much kindness, he sent him immediately to his home. Afterwards, the governor was very diligent to renovate the courtyard of the church and to embellish the shrine of the Mother of God at Cassiope.

Many who at that time had doubts about the Orthodox Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ were made steadfast through this extraordinary and ineffable miracle. Beholding what had taken place and had been demonstrated in their own time, they came to believe in those things which are mentioned in the Divine Scriptures and which are usually believed in by hearing alone. As for those who remained in unbelief and would not honor this ineffable miracle, they were put to shame, for having eyes in order to see, even as the holy Prophet Ezekiel says, they saw not, and having ears to hear, they heard not.

Let us all run, therefore, with faith and piety to the luminous Virgin and Theotokos Mary, and let us beseech her as one who has audience, that she may illumine the eyes of our understanding, lest we walk in the darkness of, unbelief and sin, and that she may intercede with God, Who was born of her, to rescue us from every temptation of the evil one and deem us worthy of the celestial kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom is due all glory, thanksgiving, honor, and worship, with His Father Who is without beginning, and the All-holy and good and life giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” 

Most-holy Theotokos, save us!

Γ.Νεκτάριος Μουλατσιώτης-Τι αποκάλυψε ο Ιησούς στους μαθητές του λίγο πριν το πάθος

Ομιλία γέροντος Νεκταρίου Μουλατσιώτη με θέμα: "ΤΙ ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΕ Ο ΙΗΣΟΥΣ ΣΤΟΥΣ ΜΑΘΗΤΕΣ ΤΟΥ ΛΙΓΟ ΠΡΙΝ ΤΟ ΠΑΘΟΣ - ΜΕΡΟΣ Β' " Η ομιλία πραγματοποιήθηκε στον Ιερό Ναό Αγίας Μαρίνης Ηλιουπόλεως Αθηνών την Κυριακή 2 Ιουνίου 2013.

Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite-On the Order of Acquiring Virtues

  Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite

A true warrior of Christ, filled with a whole-hearted desire to achieve the fullness of perfection, must set no limits to his efforts to gain success in all things. Yet he must moderate and direct excessive transports of his spiritual zeal by good judgment. Particularly in the beginning, such transports surge up suddenly with great vigor and carry us away with irresistible force; but later they gradually grow weaker and weaker, until they die down altogether, leaving us stranded in the middle of our journey. For not only should external, bodily virtues be acquired little by little, by gradually ascending, as by the rungs of a ladder, but in the acquisition of the inner virtues of the soul one should also observe a definite order and sequence, since only then does our little become much and remain with us for ever.

For example, in the process of acquiring the inner virtue of patience, it is impossible at once to welcome injustice, injuries and all other forms of unpleasantness, to seek them and rejoice in them, although it is possible to endure them with patience when they come. For welcoming them and rejoicing in them are the highest degrees of patience, and before you reach them you should traverse the lower degrees, which are: humble self-depreciation, in which you consider yourself worthy of every insult, overcoming in yourself impulses of revenge, hatred of the least thought of revenge, and so on.


I advise you, besides: do not at once undertake the practice of all virtues, or even of a number of them, but become first grounded in one and there upon pass to another. In this way every habit of virtue will take root in your soul with greater ease and firmness. For when you are constantly exercising yourself in the virtue above all others, your memory will be almost entirely occupied by this alone, and your mind, thus welded to the thought of it, will acquire more quickly the skill of finding means and occasions for its practice, while your will will cleave to it with greater readiness and desire. All these things help greatly in the work of acquiring habits of virtue, which you will expect in vain if you undertake many virtues at once.


On the other hand, since the practice itself of any given virtue remains always the same, it follows from the similarity of this mode of action that it gradually becomes less and less difficult and leads more quickly to another virtue. For one virtue usually stimulates another, akin to it, and helps it by the fact that, once it is established in the heart, it predisposes the heart to receive the like by preparing as it were a seat for it.

This calculation of mine is true and reliable, and we know from experience that if a man exercises himself in one virtue well and wholeheartedly, he not only learns in advance by this very fact how to exercise himself in another, but, as his experience in the first virtue increases, he stimulates too all other virtues and makes them grow and strengthen in himself; for they cannot be divided from one another, as all are rays issuing from the same Divine Light. 

from "Unseen Warfare," by St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain, revised by St. Theophan the Recluse, (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1978), pp. 179 - 180

Η ερμηνεία της εικόνας της Αναλήψεως

Ἡ ἑορτή τῆς Ἀναλήψεως εἶναι τό ἐπισφράγισμα τοῦ λυτρωτικοῦ ἔργου τοῦ Χριστοῦ καί τό θριαμβευτικόν ἐπιστέγασμα τῶν ὅσων ἔπραξεν ὁ Κύριος ὑπέρ τῶν ἀνθρώπων. Ὅπως λέγει τό Κοντάκιον τῆς ἑορτῆς: «Τήν ὑπέρ ὑμῶν πληρώσας οἰκονομίαν καί τά ἐπί γῆς ἑνώσας τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις, ἀνελήφθης ἐν δόξῃ Χριστέ ὁ Θεός ἡμῶν, οὐδαμόθεν χωριζόμενος, ἀλλά μένων ἀδιάστατος καί βοῶν τοῖς ἀγαπῶσί σε· Ἐγώ εἰμι μεθ᾿ ὑμῶν καί οὐδείς καθ᾿ ὑμῶν». Ὁ Χριστός δηλαδή, πού εἶναι Θεός μας, ἀνελήφθη ἐν δόξῃ, ὅταν συμφώνως πρός τό θεῖον σχέδιον συνεπλήρωσε καί ὡλοκλήρωσε τά ὅσα ὑπέρ ἡμῶν ἔπραξεν. Αὐτά ἥνωσαν τήν γῆν μέ τόν οὐρανόν, τούς ἀνθρώπους μέ τόν Θεόν. Ἡ Ἀνάληψις δέν ἐσήμαινε βεβαίως καί χωρισμόν τοῦ Κυρίου ἀπό τούς ἠγαπημένους Του Μαθητάς. Μέ αὐτούς ὁ Διδάσκαλος παρέμεινεν ἡνωμένος συμφώνως πρός τήν ὑπόσχεσίν Του: «Καί ἰδού ἐγώ μεθ᾿ ὑμῶν εἰμι πάσας τάς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος. Ἀμήν» (Ματθ. 28, 20).
Τό ἔργον τοῦ Κυρίου μετά τήν Ἀνάληψίν Του εἰς τούς οὐρανούς συνέχισε καί συνεχίζει ἡ Ἐκκλησία. Αὐτή, μέ τήν δύναμιν πού τῆς ἔδωκεν ὁ Ἱδρυτής της, διδάσκει, θαυματουργεῖ, ἁγιάζει καί σώζει τούς πιστούς. Οἱ πιστοί εἶναι διά τῆς Ἐκκλησίας καί εἰς τήν Ἐκκλησίαν ἡνωμένοι μέ τόν Ἀρχηγόν των.
Διά τήν Ἐκκλησίαν Του ὡμίλησεν ὁ Κύριος εἰς τούς Ἀποστόλους, ὅταν ἐνεφανίζετο εἰς αὐτούς ἐπί τεσσαράκοντα ἡμέρας μετά τήν Ἀνάστασίν Του. Ὑπεσχέθη εἰς αὐτούς τήν ἐπιφοίτησιν τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος, παρήγγειλε νά κηρύξουν τό Εὐαγγέλιον εἰς ὅλην τήν κτίσιν, νά διαλαλήσουν τήν Ἀνάστασίν Του καί νά καλέσουν τούς ἀνθρώπους νά μετανοήσουν διά τά ἁμαρτωλά των ἔργα. Ἐκεῖνοι πού θά ἐπίστευον, θά ἐγίνοντο μέ τό Ἅγιον Βάπτισμα μέλη τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. «Καί ταῦτα εἰπών βλεπόντων αὐτῶν ἐπήρθη (=ὑψώθη πρός τά ἐπάνω), καί νεφέλη ὑπέλαβεν αὐτόν ἀπό τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν. Καί ὡς ἀτενίζοντες ἦσαν εἰς τόν οὐρανόν πορευομένου αὐτοῦ, καί ἰδού ἄνδρες δύο (δηλαδή ἄγγελοι) παρειστήκεισαν αὐτοῖς ἐν ἐσθῇτι λευκῇ, οἵ καί εἶπον· ἄνδρες Γαλιλαῖοι, τί ἑστήκατε ἐμβλέποντες εἰς τόν οὐρανόν; Οὗτος ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὁ ἀναληφθείς ἀφ᾿ ὑμῶν εἰς τόν οὐρανόν, οὕτως ἐλεύσεται (=θά ἔλθῃ κατά τόν ἴδιο τρόπον), ὅν τρόπον ἐθεάσασθε αὐτόν πορευόμενον εἰς τόν οὐρανόν. Τότε ὑπέστρεψαν εἰς Ἱερουσαλήμ ἀπό ὄρους τοῦ καλουμένου ἐλαιῶνος…» (Πράξ. 1, 9-12).
Ἡ Ἐκκλησία, διά τήν ὁποίαν ὡμίλησεν ὁ Κύριος πρίν ἀπό τήν Ἀνάληψίν Του, ἀφ᾿ ἑνός καί ἡ σκηνή τῆς Ἀναλήψεως ἀφ᾿ ἑτέρου εἶναι τά δύο θέματα, πού παρουσιάζει ἡ εἰκών τῆς Ἀναλήψεως. Ἐπειδή εἰς τήν Ἁγίαν Γραφήν διατίθενται περισσότεροι στίχοι δι᾿ ὅσα ὁ Κύριος εἶπε περί τῆς Ἐκκλησίας καί ὀλιγώτεροι δι᾿ αὐτό τοῦτο τό γεγονός τῆς Ἀναλήψεως, ὁ βυζαντινός ἁγιογράφος, στηριζόμενος εἰς τήν βιβλικήν διήγησιν, διαθέτει καί ἀνάλογον χῶρον εἰς τήν περί ἧς ὁ λόγος εἰκόνα. Τό κύριον μέρος τῆς εἰκόνος καταλαμβάνουν οἱ Ἀπόστολοι μέ τήν Παναγίαν (τά μέλη δηλαδή τῆς Ἐκκλησίας τοῦ Χριστοῦ) καί μόλις ἕνα μικρόν τμῆμα εἰς τό ἄνω μέρος τῆς εἰκόνος καταλαμβάνει ὁ Ἀναληφθείς Κύριος.
Ἐπειδή ἡ Ἀνάληψις κατά τό ἁγιογραφικόν κείμενον ἔγινεν εἰς τό ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν (εὑρίσκεται ἀνατολικῶς τῆς Ἱερουσαλήμ καί ἧτο κατάφυτον ἀπό ἐλαίας κατά τούς ἀρχαίους χρόνους), τό τοπίον τῆς εἰκόνος εἶναι ὀρεινόν μέ ἐλαιόδενδρα ἀνάμεσα εἰς τούς βράχους.
Ἀφοῦ εἴδομεν τάς πληροφορίας, τάς ὁποίας μᾶς δίδει ἡ Ἁγία Γραφή διά τήν Ἀνάληψιν τοῦ Κυρίου καί πῶς εἰς γενικάς γραμμάς μεταφέρει αὐτάς διά νά τάς παρουσιάσῃ εἰς τήν σχετικήν εἰκόνα ὁ ὀρθόδοξος ἁγιογράφος, ἐρχόμεθα τώρα νά ἴδωμεν λεπτομερέστερον τά δύο τμήματα τῆς εἰκόνος.
Περιγραφή τῆς εἰκόνος: α) Ὁ Ἀναληφθείς Κύριος. Εἰς τήν εἰκόνα τῆς Ἀναλήψεως ὁ Κύριος εἰκονίζεται μέσα εἰς «δόξαν», ἄλλοτε στρογγύλην, καί ἄλλοτε ἐλλειψοειδῆ, καθήμενος ἐπί οὐρανίου τόξου (εἰς ἄλλας εἰκόνας ἐπί θρόνου). Μέ τήν δεξιάν Του χεῖρα εὐλογεῖ καί μέ τήν ἀριστεράν κρατεῖ εἰλητάριον, τό ὁποῖον γράφει: «Ἐδόθη μοι πᾶσα ἐξουσία ἐν οὐρανῷ καί ἐπί τῆς γῆς». Τό εἰλητάριον εἶναι τό σύμβολον τοῦ διδασκάλου.
Τήν «δόξαν», ἐντός τῆς ὁποίας εὑρίσκεται ὁ Κύριος, ὑποβαστάζουν δύο ἄγγελοι. Συμβολίζουν καί ἐκφράζουν τήν θείαν μεγαλειότητα καί ἐξουσίαν. (Ὁ Κύριος ὡς παντοδύναμος δέν εἶχεν ἀνάγκην τῶν ἀγγέλων διά νά ἀναληφθῇ εἰς τούς οὐρανούς). Εἰς μερικάς εἰκόνας τῆς Ἀναλήψεως οἱ ἄγγελοι δέν ὑποβαστάζουν τήν «δόξαν», ἀλλά ἐνατενίζουν τόν Κύριον εἰς στάσιν προσευχῆς. Ὅπως λέγουν τά τροπάρια τῆς ἑορτῆς, ἀποροῦν καί θαυμάζουν, διότι ὁ Χριστός ἀνελήφθη ὄχι μόνον ὡς Θεός, ἀλλά καί ὡς ἄνθρωπος, δηλαδή μέ τό ἄφθαρτον καί δοξασμένον σῶμά Του.
Ἄλλοτε οἱ ἄγγελοι εἰκονίζονται σαλπίζοντες συμφώνως πρός τόν ψαλμικόν στίχον «ἀνέβη ὁ Θεός ἐν ἀλαλαγμῷ, Κύριος ἐν φωνῇ σάλπιγγος» (Ψαλμ. 46, 6). Ὁ στίχος αὐτός ἀναφέρεται αὐτούσιος εἰς τήν ὑμνολογίαν τῆς Ἀναλήψεως, διότι «ἡ εἰς οὐρανούς ἄνοδος διά τούτων (τῶν λέξεων) τοῦ Κυρίου σημαίνεται» (Μέγας Ἀθανάσιος).
β) Οἱ Ἀπόστολοι. Οἱ Ἀπόστολοι εἶναι χωρισμένοι εἰς δύο ὁμίλους ἔχοντες εἰς τό μέσον τήν Παναγίαν. Ὄπισθεν τῆς Παναγίας εὑρίσκονται δύο λευκοφοροῦντες ἄγγελοι, οἱ ὁποῖοι δείχνουν τόν Ἀναληφθέντα Κύριον. Ὡς ἀγγελιαφόροι τοῦ Θεοῦ διαβεβαιώνουν καί παρηγοροῦν τούς παρισταμένους διά τήν ἐπάνοδον τοῦ Κυρίου κατά τήν δευτέραν παρουσίαν.
Εἰς τό κείμενον τῆς Ἁγίας Γραφῆς τό ἀναφερόμενον εἰς τήν Ἀνάληψιν δέν ἀναφέρεται ὅτι παρευρέθη ἡ Θεοτόκος κατά τήν εἰς οὐρανούς ἄνοδον τοῦ Υἱοῦ Της. Περί αὐτοῦ μᾶς πληροφορεῖ ἡ Ἱερά Παράδοσις, ὅπως τήν βλέπομεν ἄλλωστε καί εἰς τά τροπάρια τῆς ἑορτῆς. Ἀξία προσοχῆς εἶναι ἡ θέσις καί ἡ στάσις τῆς Θεοτόκου εἰς τήν εἰκόνα. Εὑρίσκεται ἀκριβῶς κάτωθεν τοῦ Υἱοῦ Της καί εἶναι ἔτσι ὁ ἄξων τῆς ὅλης συνθέσεως. Ἡ στάσις Της εἶναι στάσις προσευχῆς. Οἱ Ἀπόστολοι μέ τάς πρός τόν Κύριον ἐστραμμένας κεφαλάς των καί τάς χειρονομίας των ἔρχονται εἰς ἀντίθεσιν πρός τήν ἀτάραχον καί ἤρεμον μορφήν τῆς Παναγίας. Εἰς τήν εἰκόνα μας τό ὑποπόδιον, ἐπί τοῦ ὁποίου πατεῖ ἡ Θεοτόκος τονίζει ἀκόμη περισσότερον τήν ξεχωριστήν θέσιν Της μεταξύ τῶν εἰκονιζομένων Ἀποστόλων.
Ὁ ἁγιογράφος τῆς εἰκόνας τῆς Ἀναλήψεως ἠθέλησε μέ τούς Ἀποστόλους, πού περιστοιχίζουν τήν Παναγίαν, νά παρουσιάσῃ τήν Ἐκκλησίαν, εἰς τήν ὁποίαν ὁ Κύριος θά ἔστελνε κατά τήν Πεντηκοστήν τό Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα διά νά τήν ζωοποιήσῃ. Περί τῆς ἀποστολῆς τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος εἰς τούς Μαθητάς καί τῆς ἐπιδημίας του εἰς τόν κόσμον ὁμιλοῦν καί τά τροπάρια τῆς ἑορτῆς τῆς Ἀναλήψεως, συνδέοντα ἔτσι τά δύο κοσμοϊστορικά καί κοσμοσωτήρια γεγονότα.
Τό πρόσωπον δεξιά τῆς Θεοτόκου, τό ὁποῖον βλέπει εἰς τόν οὐρανόν μέ τήν χεῖρα ἐμπρός εἰς τούς ὀφθαλμούς του, εἶναι ὁ Ἀπόστολος Παῦλος. Κατά τήν Ἀνάληψιν ὁ Παῦλος δέν εἶχεν θέσιν μεταξύ τῶν Ἀποστόλων, διότι ἡ μεταστροφή του ἔγινεν ἀργότερον. Ἡ θέσις του εἰς τήν εἰκόνα εἶναι συμβολική. Θά γίνῃ καί αὐτός μέλος τῆς Ἐκκλησίας καί μάλιστα μέλος ἐκλεκτόν. Ὁ ὀρθόδοξος ἁγιογράφος ἀποσπᾷ τόν Παῦλον ἀπό τήν ἐποχήν του καί τόν συγκαταριθμεῖ μεταξύ τῶν Ἀποστόλων. Ἔτσι καί ἡ θέσις τοῦ Ἰούδα ἀνεπληρώθη καί ἡ παράστασις τῆς Ἐκκλησίας ἔγινε δυναμική, ἐκφραστική καί συμβολική.
Αἱ ὑψωμέναι εἰς προσευχήν χεῖρες τῆς Παναγίας ὑπενθυμίζουν τόν ρόλον Της πλησίον τοῦ Υἱοῦ Της. Ἡμεῖς, ὅπως ψάλλει ἡ Ἐκκλησία μας, «ἄλλην γάρ οὐκ ἔχομεν ἁμαρτωλοί πρός Θεόν… ἀεί μεσιτείαν». Παρακαλοῦμεν τόν Χριστόν νά μᾶς σώσῃ καί ἐλεήσῃ «ταῖς πρεσβείαις τῆς παναχράντου Δεσποίνης ἡμῶν Θεοτόκου καί ἀειπαρθένου Μαρίας».
Ἕνα ἀκόμη δεῖγμα τῆς σχέσεως Θεοτόκου καί Ἐκκλησίας εἶναι τό ἀλύγιστον τῆς στάσεως τῆς Παναγίας, πού βλέπομεν εἰς μερικάς εἰκόνας. Μέ τήν ἀκινησίαν Της αὐτήν φαίνεται νά ἐκφράζῃ τά ἀμετακίνητα δόγματα τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας. Ἀπό τό ἄλλο μέρος οἱ Ἀπόστολοι μέ τάς διαφόρους χειρονομίας των συμβολίζουν τάς διαφόρους γλώσσας καί τά ποικίλα μέσα, μέ τά ὁποῖα ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ σπείρεται εἰς τάς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων.
Κλείομεν τήν ἀνάλυσιν τῆς εἰκόνος τῆς Ἀναλήψεως μέ τούς λόγους τοῦ Ἁγίου πάπα Λέοντος Α´ (440-461): «Ἡ Ἀνάληψις τοῦ Χριστοῦ εἶναι ἰδική μας ἀνύψωσις καί ὅπου ἡ δόξα τῆς Κεφαλῆς προεπορεύθη, ἐκεῖ καλεῖται καί ἡ τοῦ Σώματος ἐλπίς», τά μέλη δηλαδή τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, ἡ ὁποία εἶναι τό Σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ.

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