Myrrh-streaming Kardiotissa Icon of Mother of God visits more people
On March 9, hundreds of Orthodox faithful from area churches gathered at St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Spring, MD, to venerate the myrrh-streaming Kardiotissa Icon from Taylor, PA. This was a Lenten retreat for which planning had begun over a year earlier. Visitors were already taking their seats an hour in advance, in anticipation of seeing the miraculous icon. For the next sixteen hours, Church services would continue, comprised of the Liturgy of Pre-Sanctified Gifts, a Supplication Service to Bohorodytsia, and an All-Night Vigil. Local clergy from Ukrainian, Greek, Romanian and Serbian Orthodox parishes, in ecumenical unity, were part of all services conducted. The Cathedral choir was also joined by choir members from local Orthodox parishes.
During the Liturgy of Pre-Sanctified Gifts, the Icon of the Tender- Hearted Mother of God was carried into the Church, greeted by a procession of the clergy and the awe of the faithful. One could immediately feel the Icon's holy presence. Following the Supplication Service, Fr. Mark Leasure engaged those present with stories of how the icon came to Taylor and the miracles that have been attributed to the Kardiotissa. The Icon itself had a moisture and warm glow under glass and exuded a lovely fragrance. Those in attendance were anointed with the streaming myrrh by members of the clergy and were also able to pray before the icon, touch it, and collect myrrh on cotton to take home. The veneration line would continue in a steady stream until 1:00 am, with many others visiting throughout the night into the morning.
The overflow crowd was able to observe the service on a large screen in the Church Hall as the service was live-streamed. The live-stream also meant that people from all over the country could join in the veneration. A beautiful Lenten dinner was served by the Sisterhood to hundreds in the Church Hall and coffee was available to sustain those who chose to visit or keep a vigil throughout the night. The Church remained open, and people continued to come until morning, when the Icon was taken back. People of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds were drawn to the Icon, some returning to the Icon again and again. It was truly a spiritual experience to remember.