Moscow, miraculous ointment from an icon of Our Lady of Kazan
by Vladimir Rozanskij

It is the fourth time that the image exudes rivulets of a substance considered sacred oil similar to chrism. Metropolitan Ilarion confirms the sacred phenomenon, right in the church under his direction. The miraculous phenomenon of the ointment of icons corresponds to the "tearing" of sacred images in the Catholic world, but in the East sacred images play a role analogous to Latin Eucharistic devotion.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - In a church in the center of Moscow, that of the Beheading of John the Precursor on the Bor, the icon of Our Lady of Kazan (photo 1), has for the fourth time released rivets of miraculous ointment (miron, a term also used for the Sacred Chrism).

The news was confirmed and made public in an authoritative way by Metropolitan Ilarion (Alfeev), head of the Foreign Affairs Department of the Moscow Patriarchate, during the opening of the academic year of Patriarchal Theological Institute of higher learning, of which Ilarion himself is director.

The theology school is located right in the complex of the Church of St. John the Precursor (photo 2), built on the site of the ancient Ivanovskoe monastery where the great prince of Moscow Basilio II, great-grandfather of Ivan the terrible, was born in 1400 .

During the solemn opening ceremony, which celebrated 10 years of the Institution, Metropolitan Ilarion revealed that " we are faced with a miraculous icon in this church; the first case of appearance of the miron dates to 2016, when in this our building, the Chernigovskoe Podvor'e, after the restoration of the regular liturgical celebrations began. Then the ointment continued to flow for about a month; the second incident took place in May 2017, when the relics of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker were brought to Moscow".

The third case of "unguentation" (mirotochenie) occurred in November 2018 during the feast of the icon of the Mother of God "Joy of all the afflicted", which is located in the adjacent church on Bolshaja Ordynka street, near the Kremlin, and of which Ilarion is the owner. The fourth incidence of the miraculous ointment of these days is particularly abundant, so that in October continuous prayer groups have been established, to recite the Acathist (the Orthodox Rosary) in front of the icon, as thanks for the graces received through the intercession of Mary.

The miraculous phenomenon of ointment from the icons corresponds to the "tearing" of sacred images in the Catholic world, but in the East - and in Russia in particular - it has a much wider and marked diffusion and meaning. The sacred icons are in fact "liturgical" images, they play a role in some ways analogous to the Latin Eucharistic devotion, representing the presence of God for the faithful who pray before the icon and contemplate it. The Russian Orthodox Church has also set up a special patriarchal Commission to verify the authenticity of the phenomenon, often sought after and sometimes "provoked" to arouse the enthusiasm of the faithful.

Often in the Orthodox world, the traces of ointment are also evident on the bones of the saints, in particular of the monks. The great devotion to St. Nicholas of Bari, the bishop thaumaturgy, for the Russians is very much linked to the collection of the "Manna of Saint Nicholas", the miron that is gathered from the holy remains of the saint and is also spread in precious ampoules. The miraculous ointment is often perfumed like the essences of the sacramental Chrism, and for the Orthodox it indicates a special revelation of the presence of God, to confirm or arouse faith above all in times of trial and suffering.

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