When my aunt suffered a severe broken arm and wore a cast, I often came to her house to see her. Not just talk, but help with cooking, washing dishes, hanging washing and ironing. Once on the bedside table I saw an amazing icon of the Virgin.
One hand she held the baby, the other put to the heart, and the third ... She had a third hand! Of course, I immediately began to ask what kind of image it was. And it turned out ...
History of the icon
In the 8th century AD, when the persecution of Christians long ago ceased, new unrest broke out in the world: iconoclasm. The emperor Leo the Third began to urge people to destroy the icons and not to draw them, praying only to the Lord Who is in heaven. Together with the faces of the saints, many other Christian relics were destroyed: statues, mosaics, even altars.
One of the Byzantine courtiers, John of Damascus, openly opposed the emperor, wrote treatises, in every way explaining the importance of icons. Of course, the ruler did not like it, and he organized a forgery, namely, a letter that put John as a state traitor.
The Byzantine king, in whose court the sage worked, believed the forgery and ordered that John be punished by cutting off his hand.
Suffering from pain, the righteous man prayed to the Holy Virgin. One night she came to him and promised to heal. And indeed, the hand has grown! And only a large scar has remained on the hand as evidence of the terrible wound suffered by John.
In gratitude, he ordered a copy of his hand of silver, and then put it to the icon in the church, wanting to show that in fact his hand belongs to the Heavenly Queen.
By the way! The relics of St. John are not only in Greece and Venice, but also in St. Petersburg (Novodevichy Convent, Kazan Church):
Folk legends associated with this icon
Not all Orthodox knew about John of Damascus, but many saw in churches an icon on which the Virgin Mary painted three hands (by mistake all three hands began to draw in one style and one dress, therefore all three were naively attributed to the Virgin Mary).
And people invented such stories.
- Once, when Jesus Christ was still a baby, the robbers chased after His Mother. She rushed into the river to escape by swimming. But it was difficult to swim and hold the baby. Therefore, the Virgin Mary asked Jesus to give her another hand for convenience. So it happened.
- One icon painter painted odigitriyu. When the icon was almost ready, he approached her and suddenly saw that there were three hands in the image. How could he be so wrong? The artist immediately erased the third hand, but the next day she appeared again. The man again sketched it, but in a dream the Mother of God came to him and ordered no longer to touch the icon - they say, it should look that way. Of course, the artist obeyed.
What she tells us: the meaning
Little Jesus blesses everyone looking at the icon, and His Mother points to her Son, thereby making it clear to whom we should strive and whom to ask for help.
There is also an opinion that three hands mean: two palms are needed by the Theotokos to maintain the Son, and the third - to help all the suffering.
According to the style of writing, this is odigitria (that is, a travel guide, since the Virgin Mary points to Christ as the true path of any Christian).
Days of celebration of this icon
- June 28 (or July 11).
- 12 (or 25) of July.
Where are the most revered lists
In our country there are many lists of this icon, it is very popular in Orthodoxy. There is even a monastery built in her honor. But the most healing recognized image that you can visit in two cities:
- Moscow (St. Daniel Monastery). Here is a truly ancient list of the 17th century, famous for healing the master who restored the icon. This man had eye problems, but he believed that the shrine would help - and he began to see well.
- Ekaterinburg (famous Temple-on-the-Blood).
You do not live in Russia? Then maybe you are from Ukraine? Visit the Kiev Monastery of the Holy Trinity. It is here that there is Troeruchitsa, who stopped the typhoid epidemic in the city in the 19th century.
Well, the oldest copy is in the Bulgarian Troyan Monastery. The brethren consider her their protector, guarding the monastery for hundreds of years.
What is being asked, crouching to her
- Naturally, most of all - health. Especially the Three-handed prayers are people whose ailment is associated with the hands.
- They also pray about eye health, gaining good vision.
- And in general, any prayers for health, one's own or one's family, are offered to her, and it helps many.
- Artisans consider their patroness to the Virgin Three-handedness.
- It is also a protector against evil slander. If a person has been slandered, he asks the Mother of God to help the truth be revealed.
- They ask to protect them from enemies and enemies, as well as unclean thoughts of "friends."
- Many people turn to this icon if they feel that their family is calm or the house is threatened.
- Finally, asking to increase the welfare of the family. And not in vain, because after the healing of John of Damascus and the Byzantine ruler believed that the sage could not wish him harm, forgave him, again brought him closer and showered with all sorts of gifts.
How to pray
Of course, if there is a specific request (something hurts, someone is preparing for an operation, someone's good name is under threat), people speak in their own words.
But there are certain prayers created specifically for this icon.
They sound like this:
You can learn more about the life and work of John of Damascus (emphasis on the last “i”), a saint about which, unfortunately, most of our Orthodox people know almost nothing, you can learn from this report video: