About a week ago St. Tikhon's Seminary octet visited our parish on a musical tour. They chanted Great Vespers on Tuesday evening and followed the next day with Divine Liturgy. Audra and I were blessed to be able to extend hospitality to the director of the octet and put him up for the night in our home. Along with them came the miracle-working icon of the Theotokos of Sitka, Alaska (pictured right). A story was told of a woman who had been suffering from very severe lung cancer and, following a lengthy prayer session before the icon, received total healing. The director was quick to point out, of course, that the real miracle is that of a changed life and obedience to Christ, regardless of physical healing. Still, it was good to pray in front of the peaceful image of our Lord's mother.
Pictured here are our altar servers and priest (in green) with the octet (which was really just a "septet" for this tour) and the icon of our lady of Sitka. Father later took some oil from the vigil lamp that perpetually hangs before the icon -- oil with which we were all anointed after Vespers -- and gave it to some of the elderly ladies, one of whom was suffering with vision failure. To watch these sisters express such gratitude to anoint themselves so reverently is something I won't profane here by trying to describe.
A family portrait with our Lady and her divine Son. You can read details of the icon's history HERE.
Troparion and Kontakion HERE.
Akathist hymn HERE.