Friday, October 02, 2009

A Grace-filled Two Days

The Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God of Pochaiv came to the OCA Cathedral here in Ottawa for the past two days.
Archbishop Seraphim counselled us all, when the Icon first arrived, to realize how unworthy we are of the Theotokos' generosity in coming.

He also gently instructed us on how special this opportunity is, that we Canadians are so spoiled and must realize that the original Icon (the one that came is blessed 450 year ago on the original icon) in the Pochaiv monastery in Ukraine is let down from the iconostasis once a day and that people stand in line for 8-10 hours to venerate it.

I am included in those unworthy to be before such a Holy Icon but that in the love of God and in the love of Christ's Mother, the Icon came.

Bishop Irénée was consecrated during the Divine Liturgy yesterday morning, on the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God. Metropolitan Jonah and 10 Bishops were there, concelebrating in the midst of this Holy Icon. It was an incredibly beauty and honour to behold.

Metropolitan Jonah spoke in the evening, as people continued to come to venerate the Holy Icon. Then gently and firmly, Metropolitan Jonah instructed us as a Father instructs his children. He called us to repentance, to prayer. He spoke of the first time he was in the presence of a Miracle-working Icon and how our hearts can be changed. We were called to be renewed, transformed and to give up our sins - resentment, judging others, bitterness, un-forgiveness. He gently challenged we who were converts not to judge others. Lovingly challenged is to give up our sins and to seek to be un-distracted from the memory of God. He explained that repentance is not about feeling guilty. He challenged us to see that church politics (and talking about them) is not true piety. He explained to us how these things can be traps to take us way from the one thing needful.

Metropolitan Jonah counselled us to make this holy time a time to be the time that our life changes and we seek to live in the presence of God in and in repentance.
Praise God for His works!
Praise God for giving us Christ's Mother as our Mother!
Praise God for the blessings of the Holy Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God of Pochaiv!

7 comments:

margaret said...

8-10 hours... that is devotion.

Mimi said...

What a blessing! Thanks be to God that you were able to attend.

Pres. Kathy said...

A true blessing!

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Wise advice indeed.
I am glad you were able to go.

elizabeth said...

Yes, it was such a blessing. I am greatful.

8-10 hours ... my guess is that this is normal in most Orthodox countries... we have a lot to learn from their example...

Irene said...

When i visited the Pochaiv Monastery in Volynia, Ukraine, we were told that the original Miraculous Icon of Pochaiv is lowered for veneration only on feast days of the Theotokos.

elizabeth said...

Hi Irene, Thanks for your comment. Yes, it was a deep blessing and opportunity to have such a privledge! Thanks for this confirmation of the blessing!