The icon will be in Athens until May 15
For the second day, the forecourt of the Metropolis of Athens is full of believers waiting in line to venerate the icon of the Virgin Mary “Axion Esti” (meaning ‘it is worthy to bless Thee, the Virgin‘) which will be in Athens until May 15.
Despite the rain, the faithful were outside the metropolitan church from 5 in the morning in order to be the first to venerate the icon with such an important story that came out of Mount Athos for only the eighth time.
The faithful, many of whom have come from other parts of the country, enter the Metropolis of Athens in groups of 30 people in order to avoid overcrowding.
Yesterday, Thursday, the average wait was around 40 minutes.
“I came because for me the Virgin Mary is important”, “I came to ask the Virgin Mary to keep us all healthy”, and “I came because I want us all to be healthy,” some of the faithful said to the cameras.
The pilgrimage to the icon of the Virgin “Axion Esti” starts every day at 7 am and ends at 12 midnight.
According to the program, every morning Orthros and Divine Liturgy will be celebrated, and every afternoon Prayer. In addition, on Sunday, May 7, Wednesday, May 10 – the day of Pentecost – and Sunday, May 14, a High Priestly Divine Liturgy will be held.
The Story Behind This Icon:
On June 11, 980 AD, as a group of monks was conducting an all-night vigil before the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, they noticed a monk whom they did not recognize, standing on the right of the icon. This unidentified monk began to chant the beautiful hymn written by St. Cosmas, with the addition of the words “Axion Esti os Alethos Makarizin Se Tin Theotokon”, which means “It is worthy to bless Thee, Theotokos the ever blessed and most pure Virgin and Mother of God”.
The monk explained to the others that he was the Archangel Gabriel and that these words should be added to the hymn. The Archangel vanished from their sight. Since that day, the additional words to the hymn of St. Cosmas have been sung by all Orthodox Christians around the world. The icon of the Blessed Mother Axion Esti, which is said to be miraculous, is still venerated today in the Cathedral of Mount Athos in Greece.