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The Story of the Seven Miraculous Icons of the Holy Virgin and Saint Anne from Neamț Land

5 March 2024 No Comment

The oldest miraculous icon in Romania is to be found at Neamț Monastery

Photo credit: doxologia.ro

Renowned not only for its beauty and historical significance but also called the “Jerusalem of Romanian Orthodoxy,” Neamț Monastery houses the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary with three hands – Tricheirousa or Lidianca, the latter nickname given after her country of origin. History says that the icon, depicting the Mother of God holding her Child in her arms, and on the back having Saint Great Martyr George painted, was made in the year 665, in Lydia, as a reproduction of another icon that miraculously appeared on a wooden pillar in the year 35 AD. It is also said that, in the 700s, Saint John Damascene, during his earthly life, fell victim to a plot, and the caliph of Damascus, Walid, cut off his right hand. Then, the Saint, holding his severed hand, fell before this icon of the Holy Virgin, asking to be healed, and the Mother of God healed the hand of the Saint, which miraculously reattached itself, as stated in the chronicles of that times. In memory of the miracle, John Damascene had a silver hand placed beneath the icon, and since then, it has been called the Holy Virgin with three hands. In 1401, the icon was gifted by the Byzantine Emperor Manuel Palaeologus to the Moldavian ruler Alexander the Blessed. It was placed with great honor in the Church of Mirăuți, in Suceava, and in 1415 it was moved at Neamț Monastery, and has remained there ever since. The holy icon has not escaped trials over time. During a pagan invasion, a Turk entered the monastery and struck the icon with his scimitar, intending to split it in two. Chronicles say that the Turk’s hand was paralyzed on the spot, and the blade of the weapon shattered into pieces. Testimony to the truth of this event is the tip of the scimitar, which has remained embedded, to this day, in the wood of the icon. For centuries, the Holy Virgin with three hands from Neamț has performed miracles that have astonished the Christian believers. Hundreds of seemingly incurable patients have been miraculously healed, and many of the monks who fervently prayed before her were canonized after death and became saints. As proof of divine power, it must also be mentioned that the icon sheds tears every time great troubles or misfortunes befall mankind.

Divorces resolved by Saint Anne from Bistrița Monastery 

Photo credit: doxologia.ro

Bistrița Monastery has a history of over 600 years, rising on the site of a wooden church built by Peter Mușat around 1380. The founder of the holy place is considered to be the ruler Alexander the Blessed, who, incidentally, was also buried here, alongside his wife. In 1401, the ruler received as a gift from the Byzantine Emperor Manuel Palaeologus two icons of great value, both considered miraculous. One of them is the icon of the Holy Virgin with three hands, mentioned earlier. The other, depicting Saint Anne holding Virgin Mary in her arms, was hosted at Bistrița Monastery, where it has remained untouched until today. The icon of Saint Anne from Bistrița became famous for its miraculous ability to solve even the most difficult problems that believers had within their families. Testimonies recorded over the years speak of children cured of serious illnesses, as well as hundreds of people on the brink of irreparable divorces, who prayed tearfully to Saint Anne and whose families were restored and happily continued their existence afterward, in an unparalleled harmony. One of the more recent cases is that of Elena Baciu, from the village of Tomești, Iași County: “I was in a situation where I was on the verge of divorce because my husband used to beat me every day and to sell things from our house to obtain money to buy alcohol. I came to the holy icon and prayed tearfully, with a heavy heart, because I had three children and still didn’t want them to grow up without a father. I stayed at the monastery for a day, and when I left, I was speechless seeing my husband at the gate. I don’t know how he found out where I was, because I hadn’t told him, but he rushed to find me, hitchhiking in who knows how many cars and carts. He started to cry, he told me that something stirred in his soul and asked me to forgive him for all the wrongs he had done. It’s been almost a year since then, and my husband hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol. He found work, loves us like his own eyes, and it’s as if I can’t believe the happy life we ​​live together now,” the woman recounted.

The Icon of Saint Mary from Trifești resolves cases of thefts

Photo credit: https://icoanefacatoaredeminuni.ro/

The Church of Trifești, having as a dedication day the blessed day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, was built almost 300 years ago by local nobles. At the beginning of the last century, a shepherd from the area, grazing his sheep on the banks of River Moldova, saw an icon floating on the river and pulled it out of the water, dragging it with an iron hook. History says that the wood of the icon bled where it had been pierced by the hook. Frightened, the shepherd prayed for forgiveness in front of the icon and initially took it home. That night, he dreamed of the Holy Virgin, who told him to take the newly found icon to the church in Trifești because that’s where it belongs. Over time, there have been no fewer than eight attempts to move the icon to other monasteries or more important churches in the country. However, each time, it miraculously returned overnight to the church in Trifești. This icon of the Holy Virgin primarily has the gift of bringing rain in times of drought. Furthermore, it has demonstrated its power by exposing undiscovered thieves. Dozens of cases are recorded where thieves surrendered voluntarily to the police after the people they had betrayed prayed before the icon in Trifești. Every year, on September 14, on the dedication day of the church, the locals in the area usually go on pilgrimage to the miraculous icon. Tradition requires, however, that the pilgrimage must be made on foot, no matter how far the distance between the believers’ homes and the church in Trifești.

People with selective or elective mutism get to speak before the Holy Icon of Giurgeni

Photo credit: doxologia.ro

In 1724, a few kilometers from the town of Roman, the boyar Giurgiu founded a settlement named after him, and at the same time erected a nunnery. The Giurgeni Nunnery was disbanded by the communists in 1959, being reinstated and returned to worship immediately after the revolution of December ’89, but as a monastery of monks. The holy place houses an invaluable icon, both for its unusual appearance and for the miracles it has performed and continues to perform. This icon, painted and donated to the monastery on August 6, 1831, depicts the Virgin Mary with three eyes and two mouths. It is said that the third eye and the second mouth appeared overnight, by divine will, on the already painted icon. The icon proved to be miraculous from the very beginning, and there are countless stories passed down from one generation to the next that attest to the divine miracles performed on those who prayed faithfully before it. The Holy Virgin with three eyes and two mouths, from Giurgeni, primarily heals physical ailments, many of them considered incurable. The abbot witnessed the divine miracle, right from the year of his arrival at the monastery in 1995. “There was a 6-year-old child from Vaslui, who was unable to speak from birth. His parents brought him to the monastery, and at one point, after the Holy Mass I officiated, the child pronounced the first words of his life, asking his mother to pick him up and lift him to the icon so he could kiss it. Dozens of believers present at the monastery were amazed, as I was,” recounted Father Antonie.

The Holy Virgin Heals Tuberculosis Patients from Bisericani

Photo credit: doxologia.ro

In the mid-15th century, a monk named Iosif, who had spent many years of asceticism in the holy places of Jerusalem, returned to his native lands in Neamț County and raised a hermitage on the hill of Bisericani. After a Turkish raid in 1449, the hermitage was burnt down to the ground, and Iosif gathered his nine monk disciples and wanted to leave for Mount Athos, known as the “Garden of our Saviour’s Mother”. Legend has it that, at the first crossroads, the ten monks were stopped by the Holy Virgin, who descended in a glow of light from the branches of an old oak tree and told them: “Stay here, for this is truly My Garden.” The monks then found, in the hollow of the oak, an icon of Virgin Mary. On that spot, they built a wooden church, and after a few years, with the help of Voivode Stephen the Great, and his successor Voivode Ștefăniță, the monastery of Bisericani was built, which still stands today. The icon of the Holy Virgin, found in the hollow, became famous for its power to drive away the evil spirits that had descended upon people. The icon of the Virgin from Bisericani also has the gift of alleviating the suffering of those afflicted with lung diseases. Locals and monks say that the air around the monastery is clean and blessed, having a strength and miraculous power. In Bisericani was built and still operates one of the most renowned TB sanatoriums in the country.

The Mother of God from Horaița, the Deliverer from Drought

Photo credit: doxologia.ro

Horaița Monastery is documented from July 1428, through a charter issued by the chancellery of Voivode Alexander the Blessed. Four hundred years later, in 1824, the holy place was endowed with an icon of the Holy Virgin, painted and later gilded in silver by a few pilgrim artists from Transylvania. Two years later, during a drought period, the monastery’s monks woke up in the morning and found the icon in the church gate, with drops of water on it. The first miracle, from a chain of hundreds of subsequent miracles, took place, according to the chronicles of the time, on the same day. The monks knelt and prayed to the icon, and in the evening, the clouds gathered and poured beneficial rain over the drought-stricken lands. Over time, the icon of the Holy Virgin from Horaița was taken in processions through the areas affected by the lack of water, and in almost 90 percent of the cases, it accomplished the immediate and miraculous miracle of bringing rain. Through all these, it was called the “deliverer from drought,” being considered, in terms of religious value, the second rain-bringing icon in the country, after the one from Trifești.

At Almaș Monastery, 16 Cancer Patients Healed

Photo credit: crestinortodox.ro

In 1659, at the foothill of Stănișoarei Mountains, Vasile and Maria Almaș settled, shepherds who fled from Țara Hațegului because of Hungarian rulers who wanted to forcibly convert them from Orthodox faith to Calvinism. The two spouses founded a household in the lands of Neamț, then erected a wooden chapel, which over the years was transformed into a monastery. The official founder, recorded in the chronicles of 1821, Chancellor Balş, wanted to keep the name of the spouses who founded the holly settlement, as the name of the holy place. Almaș Monastery houses an icon of Saint Anna with the Child, made by anonymous authors. The icon proved its divine power in the same year when the monastery was plundered by the Greek revolutionaries of the Eteria, dissatisfied with the fact that religious services held in the holy place were not officiated, according to the custom of the time, in Greek. History says that the revolutionaries of the Eteria struggled unsuccessfully, for two consecutive days, to move the icon of Saint Anna with the Child, which they wanted to destroy. The miraculous Icon from Almaș Monastery remained in its place, chosen by God and, over nearly 200 years, performed miraculous healings of incurable physical ailments. The monastery’s chronicles record no fewer than 16 cases in which cancer patients were healed after praying to the holy icon. Monks also say that some of the recently healed patients are still alive today, being themselves witnesses to the miracles performed on them.

Source of information: https://www.crestinortodox.ro/stiri-crestine-gardianul/povestea-celor-sapte-icoane-facatoare-minuni-maicii-domnului-ale-sfintei-ana-tinutul-neamtului-75650.html

On the territory of Romania there are 102 holy relics and miraculous icons and 16 healing springs, and also four churches that preserve pieces of the cross on which our Savior Jesus Christ was crucified.

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