Orthodox icon | Mother of God “Unexpected Joy” | 24843
One of the depicted miracles revolves around the Chernigov icon of the Mother of God. A sinner, burdened by guilt, fervently prayed to the Blessed Mother, and to his astonishment, witnessed a miraculous event.
The image of the Mother of God began to move, while wounds and blood materialized on the arms and legs of the child depicted in the icon, reminiscent of the wounds of Christ on the cross. Deeply shaken, the sinner inquired about the source of this phenomenon. The Mother of God responded, revealing that sinners, such as the man himself, inflict these wounds upon Christ through their transgressions.
This profound encounter led the sinner to repentance, transforming his life to one of righteousness. The remembrance of this miraculous event is commemorated on May 1 and December 9.
On the sides of the icon, we find depictions of two revered saints:
Saint Apostle James
Saint Apostle James, whose feast is celebrated on April 30 in the Orthodox Church, holds a significant place among the chosen disciples of Jesus Christ. Also known as James the Greater or James the Son of Zebedee, he was one of the twelve apostles and held a special position within their ranks.
James, John’s brother, earned the title “Sons of Thunder” with him because of their passionate zeal. Alongside Peter and John, James belonged to Jesus’ innermost circle of disciples. This close relationship granted him access to pivotal events in Jesus’ life and ministry.
Saint James and Jesus
James stood by Jesus during the transformative moment on the Mount of Transfiguration. There, Jesus unveiled His divine splendor to Peter, James, and John, shining luminously with Moses and Elijah by His side. This profound revelation deeply impacted James, reaffirming his belief in Jesus as God’s Son.
James also witnessed Jesus’ intense prayers in the garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion. These powerful experiences showcased James’ unwavering devotion to his Lord.
After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, Saint James actively spread the Gospel. Tradition holds he preached in regions like Spain, earning him the title of its patron saint. But his missionary work wasn’t confined to Spain; he fearlessly shared Christ’s teachings everywhere.
James’ steadfast faith led him to martyrdom, making him the first apostle to be martyred. King Herod Agrippa I executed him in Jerusalem around 44 AD.
The Orthodox Church continues to cherish and honor Saint Apostle James. His life inspires believers, emphasizing unwavering faith, dedication, and a deep commitment to Jesus Christ’s Gospel.
The Orthodox Church celebrates Saint Martha on July 4, honoring her steadfast faith and service to Christ. As a cherished disciple and friend of Jesus, she stands out among the saints.
The Gospels introduce Martha as Lazarus’s sister and Mary of Bethany’s sibling. She, along with her siblings, warmly received Jesus into their home. Her dedication to the Lord shone as she tirelessly ensured Jesus and His disciples felt cared for.
Martha features prominently in the Bible during Jesus’ visit to their home. While she immersed herself in preparations, Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet, absorbing His teachings.
Feeling burdened by the tasks at hand, Martha approached Jesus, expressing her frustration that her sister was not assisting her. In response, Jesus gently reminded Martha that it was Mary who had chosen the better portion by choosing to prioritize spiritual nourishment over worldly concerns.
This episode portrays Martha’s inclination towards practical service, highlighting her caring and responsible nature. However, it also reveals the importance of balancing such duties with a contemplative and receptive spirit.
Saint Martha and Jesus
Martha’s faith in Jesus was further exemplified during the time of her brother Lazarus’ death. When Lazarus fell gravely ill, Martha sent word to Jesus, believing in His ability to heal her brother. Although Lazarus had already passed away by the time Jesus arrived, Martha’s faith remained steadfast.
She professed her belief that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, demonstrating her profound understanding and trust in Him as the source of life and resurrection. Jesus, moved by her faith, went on to perform the miraculous raising of Lazarus from the dead.
After Christ’s ascension, Martha, along with her sister Mary, played an integral role in the early Christian community. They are mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as faithful disciples who received and supported the apostles in their ministry.
Saint Martha’s dedicated service and unwavering faith have made her an exemplary model for believers. Her life encourages Christians to cultivate a harmonious balance between active service and contemplative devotion, recognizing the importance of nurturing both the physical and spiritual needs of those around us.
Through her example, Saint Martha inspires believers to serve with love, faithfulness, and a deep desire to honor and glorify God in all that they do.