Accounts regarding the new copy of the Montreal Iveron Icon

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The following is an account provided by Archpriest Stefan Pawlenko, an eyewitness to how Hieromonk Michael, a resident of Optina Hermitage, had given Fr.Victor a Myrrh-streaming copy of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God. Fr. Stefan is the rector of the Church of All Saints in the Russian Land, in Burlingame, California.

The Lord made me worthy to be at Optina Hermitage, together with Fr. Victor Potapov and his matushka, and Fr. Vladimir Boikov, and to be an eyewitness to unusual events. When our group was leaving the Monastery Scete, someone ran up to Fr. Victor and told him that the director of the Scete requested that he return. Fr. Victor and Maria, his matushka, went off. Looking through the gates, we saw Fr. Michael blessing them with the copy of the Iveron icon of the Mother of God. Some time earlier, we had been shown that Icon in the Scete. The Icon was written on a board, which had belonged to murdered brother Joseph. In Russia, an exact copy - albeit somewhat smaller in size [than the original] - of the Montreal icon had been written on that board. In Optina, the copy began to stream Myrrh. We witnessed this with our own eyes, and touched [the streaming Myrrh] with our fingers. They entrusted the Icon to Fr. Victor's care, and told him that it was to return with him to Washington and to be kept at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. I thank God that I was an eyewitness to this remarkable event.

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Hieromonk Michael, a resident of Optina Hermitage, gave Fr.Victor Potapov a Myrrh-streaming copy of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God. Below, we present an account given by Priest Vladimir Boikov, one of the eyewitnesses to the meeting in Optina.

Today is March 6, 2002. I am with Archpriest Stefan Pavlenko and deacon Nicholas Triantafillidis in the Monastery of St. Savva Storozhevsky, in Zvenigorod. I would like to share [with you] my impressions of the newly revealed copy of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God, which was given to Fr. Victor Potapov at the Optina Hermitage. Several days ago, our group visited Optina, and stayed at a small scete near the Monastery. Schema-archimandrite Makary Bolotov, who died last year, had been the spiritual father of the scete. We arrived at the scete late Sunday evening, March 3rd. We visited Optina the next day. There we met Fr. Tikhon, director of the scete. It was in that scete that the Optina Elders had carried on their spiritual struggle. Fr. Tikhon showed us the church, where we met his assistant, Fr. Michael. Some time ago, Fr. Michael received several icon boards that had belonged to the murdered brother Joseph Munoz-Cortes. The boards, which had been kept at Fr. Victor's house after brother Joseph's martyric death, were given to Optina because of the great reverence in which the monks of the Monastery held Joseph's memory. At Fr. Michael's direction, an exact copy of the Myrrh-streaming Iveron Icon of the Mother of God was written on one of those boards. Fr. Michael also told us that the Icon had already been streaming myrrh for three months. We were able to confirm that with our own eyes when Fr. Michael brought the Icon out of his cell and into the church. We all venerated the marvelous Icon and prayed before it. Then we bade Fr. Michael farewell, and went on to see [the rest of] the scete.

We had intended to leave the scete and return to the Monastery after seeing Venerable Elder Amvrossy's cottage. We paused before the main gates of the scete. To our surprise, someone ran out and asked Fr. Victor and his matushka to return to the scete. We saw Fr. Michael come towards Fr. Victor, hand the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God to him, and tell him that the Icon was to return with him to his parish in Washington. Fr. Victor took the Icon, and Fr. Michael turned and walked away in silence. With the Icon, we returned to Moscow the next day; from there it went to Washington.

I thank the Lord that I was made worthy to witness this event.

July 2002

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