Joy of all who sorrow

by abbamoses

Some of the Church’s wonder-working icons are honored in much the same way as Saints: they have feast days, are commemorated in the Synaxarion, and may have churches dedicated to them.

One of these is the “Joy of All Who Sorrow” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. The original seems to have appeared in medieval Russia, and was kept at the Pochaev Monastery in Ukraine. Various copies and versions, several of them also wonderworking, spread through Russia.

The OrthodoxWiki article on the Icon describes it thus:

The design of this icon depicts the Theotokos, a most beautiful blossom of heaven, standing among the flowers of paradise. Her Son is visible above her in the clouds, the King of heaven and earth. Along both sides of the icon, framing the Mother of God, are suppliants (us), asking for her intercession. She stands with her arms spread open and her head tilted as if listening. The tenderness and kindness of a loving mother are evident in her face. She stands in paradise and yet among us.

The image shown here is an English-language “translation” of the Russian original at San Francisco’s Holy Virgin “Joy of All Who Sorrow” Cathedral, where the relics of St John Maximovitch are enshrined.

Here is the text (slightly modernized) of the icon. Each phrase is accompanied by an image of suppliants asking the Virgin to intercede for their various sorrows.

The Most Holy Theotokos — The Joy of All Who Sorrow

You who are being persecuted and are in exile and in prison, who are hungry and naked and thirsty, rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for behold, all is given life and comfort.

To the aged you are  a staff, a succor and a comfort, O Lady.

Visit those who are aged and ailing, and have mercy on them, O Mother of God on high.

Upon those who are naked and cold, have mercy.

Be a covering, O Lady, for those who are naked with the nakedness of unbelief.

O Lady, you are the healing of the sick and the deliverance from every illness.

O Virgin Theotokos and Lady, you are our hope and comfort in illness.

To all who sorrow and are downtrodden, who are hungry and thirsty, who are strangers and aged, who are poor and suffering, you are a comfort, protection & intercession.

You are the joy of those who sorrow and the defender of the downtrodden.

Change our sorrow into joy, O Lady, for we are greatly sorrowful.

You are a provider for the hungry, and for those in all sorrow and want.

Look down upon us, O Lady, as you are merciful, and guide and nourish us.

O Lady, comfort of the wandering,  comfort us.

As we travel, O Lady, be our companion.

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