Icon "Three-handed": where did the Virgin come from in the image of the third hand?
The image of the Virgin "Three-armed" - one of the most honored and recognizable in Orthodoxy. But behind the third hand, which is distinctive for him, there is an important prehistory, and one can speak at length about the multitude of miracles that came from miraculous lists. We will only dwell on the most important and closer to us in time.
As the third hand appeared on the icon
The history of "Three-handed" is closely connected with the name of St. John of Damascus. He owes her the appearance of a third hand on the image and its name. At the time when the monk lived, at the beginning of the VIII century, the real war against the icons broke out, they were searched and burned.
One of the most ardent iconoclasts was the emperor of Byzantium, Leo III the Isaurian. He had a special dislike for St. John, because in Damascus, in Syria, the veneration of holy images was preserved precisely because of the monk's written works in their defense.At that time, the saint served as adviser to the caliph - the ruler of Damascus. Not being able to directly harm him, Leo the Isaurian went to the trick. What was she like?
He found a man who forged the handwriting of John of Damascus and wrote a letter on his behalf to the emperor of Byzantium himself. In this letter, the adviser to the Caliph allegedly treacherously urged to take advantage of the absence of the Caliph and attack Damascus. Lev the Isaurian gave this letter to the Damascus caliph. The goal has been achieved. Without further investigation, suspecting his adviser of treason, the ruler of Damascus ordered him to cut off his right hand and hang it for edification to others in the central square.
In the evening, when the caliph calmed down a bit, the monk asked to take the hanged hand from the square. He was allowed. Throughout the night, St. John spent a tearful prayer in front of the image of the Virgin, a family heirloom. Putting a severed brush to his hand, he begged the Lady about healing and made a promise that if it happened, he would write all his life in defense of the icons. And the miracle happened!
In the morning, the saint was surprised to find that the brush had grown together, and only a thin scar remained in his wrist as a reminder.In gratitude, the saint commanded to pour a silver hand and put it to the icon in memory of the miraculous healing that happened to him. A similar tradition still exists, for example, in Greece. Thus, the icon "Three-armed" and gained its name. Also St. John, in gratitude to the Most Pure, wrote a songAbout You rejoices, Gracious ..., which we always hear on the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great.
Upon learning of what had happened, the caliph immediately repented of his action and asked the monk to retake his position. But at that time, St. John had already decided for himself to choose another path and leave the world, wholly devoting himself to the service of God and the Theotokos.
The wonderful arrival of the image on Mount Athos
Soon, St. John left Syria and left for Palestine forever. Here, in the Lavra of St. Sava the Sanctified, he was tonsured as a monk. The icon has been with him all this time. In the monastery, he learned about the prophetic testament of St. Sava. Before his death, he ordered to strengthen the Igumenian staff next to his grave, and predicted that once the king's son with the same name as his Sawa would come to worship here. The hegumen's staff was supposed to fall on it.
To this most named royal son, Sawa, the Sanctified bequeathed to bless the hegumen's staff (pateritsa) and the venerated icon of the monastery "The Mlemae". Upon learning of this, the Monk John also left as a gift to the unknown Savva and his icon “Three-armed”.
Five centuries later, the tomb of St. Sava really visited the Athos monk of royal origin with the name of Sawa (we know him today as the famous St. Sava of Serbia in the name of saints). While worshiping, as predicted, the hegumen's staff fell on it. However, the fathers of the monastery first doubted and set the staff in place.
The next day, the monk came to the grave again, and again the paterina fell on him. Then the monks asked him the name, learned about the origin - there could be no doubt. They handed over to the chosen one of God the bequest staff and image. "Three-handed" Sawa took with him to the monastery Hilandar, in which he labored himself. So the icon for the first time arrived in Athos.
Centuries later, after the death of Sawa, the Serbian king Dusan, as a blessing, took the icon "Three-armed" from Athos to Serbia. From his court she came to the Studenitsa monastery.However, in the XV century there was a great threat of the looting of Serbian monasteries by the Turks. Wanting to save the miraculous image, the monks hoisted him on a donkey and, indulging in the will of God, let him go, being sure that the Mother of God would lead the animal to where it wanted to be.
After passing Serbia, Macedonia, the donkey arrived on Athos and stopped right near the monastery of Khylandar. The elders immediately understood which guest had come to them, and went out to meet her. The donkey died on the spot. And until now every year the procession with the “Three Hands” in commemoration of the marvelous return of the shrine to the Holy Mountain takes place.
The Constant Abbess of Hilandar
Another unusual event connected with the icon "Three-armed", happened some time later. Once the abbot died in a monastery, and it was necessary to choose a new one. Then, discord arose between the brethren, as the monastery was multinational — here Serbs, Greeks, Bulgarians, and Russians were involved — and everyone wanted the new superior to be their nationality.
Then, during the evening service, all the brethren heard the voice of the Virgin emanating from the icon, who said that from now on, she herself would be the Abbess of the monastery. However, this did not attach importance.The next morning, "Three-handed" was not found in the temple at the usual place, but they found it on the hegumen's throne. But then they decided that it was probably something that confused the altar boy, and moved the image back. When the same thing happened the next day, already in an empty and closed temple, the monks realized that such is the will of the Most Holy Theotokos.
And to this day, the icon "Three-armed" always resides in the abbot's place in Khilandar. The igumen is not chosen here, but is appointed only by the pro-abbot, the governor for solving economic issues, which always takes second place, next to the icon. The monks, every day in the morning approaching the image, are sure that they take the blessing for their obedience from the Most Pure Virgin. And the Mother of God, of course, does not leave novices without Her protection.
Other wonders from the icon
In addition to those already mentioned, many more miracles have occurred and continue to be performed from the miraculous icon. Of course, with the unusual healing of the hand of St. John of Damascus hardly anything can be compared, but we will tell about some of the most significant and large-scale cases of the intercession of the Virgin through her holy image.
In 1889, typhus broke out in Kiev, which threatened to take the lives of many people.Then the founder of Holy Trinity Monastery, who was glorified today as the Monk Jonah of Kiev, decided to serve a moleben before the image, asking the Mother of God for intercession. On the same day the disaster ceased. This icon is still in the monastery.
In 1905, during the Russian-Japanese war, the Russian army asked the monks of the Hilandar monastery to bring the "Three-handed" to help the Orthodox army. In response to a request, they sent a close copy of it. Soon after that, the Russians were able to win a number of victories and a truce was signed.
In 1945, a strong fire engulfed the forest of the monastery and came close to its walls. Then the monks decided to make a procession along with the icon "Three-handed". However, only they managed to reach the bridge, as a strong wind blew and drove off the fire.
There are also cases where the attackers of foreigners themselves saw the unknown wife over the monastery, protecting the monastery.
Protector of the Orthodox faith
The celebration of the icon in our Church takes place twice in July:11 and 25 numbers.July 11- in memory of how the miraculous list was first brought to Russia by the patriarch Nikon in 1661.25 numbers- in memory of the Kiev image, which saved the city from Mora.
Through this image we honor the Mother of God as our Intercessor and Defender of the Orthodox Faith. This is evidenced by the case of the healing of John of Damascus, as well as other miracles associated with it. Traditionally, however, another “applied” meaning of the icon arose for our Church.
It is considered, for example, that it is especially good to pray in front of an icon for the healing of hands and for some reason legs. With the third hand depicted on the icon, someone else links help in various kinds of handicrafts and handicrafts. But it is worth reading Troparion "Three-handed", where there are such words:in the image of the Holy Trinity you are three hands: Dwema, for His Son, Christ our God, bear it, the third from evils and misfortunes is true to You who rescue you, - to understand the true symbolism of iconography.
And this, you see, is much more important than crocheting or even knitting.
Anyone who wishes to pray before the icon can read the appropriate akathist with prayer.
You can learn more about it from the plot: