Theotokos "Soumela" icon
Orthodox icon of Theotokos "Soumela" or Panagia Soumela.
Celebrated August 15.
The type of this icon is Theotokos Hodegetria. According to tradition this Orthodox icon was painted by St Luke the Evangelist when the Theotokos was still alive and she was pleased with and blessed all the icons that he made. St Luke kept this icon with him all his life and when he died, his disciple Ananias, took the icon and transferred it to the Church of Acropolis in Athens which at that time became an orthodox Church and dedicated to Panagia.
The icon was venerated in Athens as "Panagia Athiniotissa". Three centuries after, the Theotokos appeared to two monks from a Monastery in Athens and told them to follow her icon whenever it will go. Theotokos with a miraculous way appeared to them many times and guided them where they had to go. At the end, she told them that they will find her icon on the Mount of Melas in Pontos of Asia Minor, today a region of Turkey.
The names of the two monks were Barnabas, and his disciple and nephew Sophronios. When they arrived in this place that Theotokos told them, they found the icon in a cave and there they built a monastery which they dedicated to Theotokos of the Mount of Melas.
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