The Batopedeia Icon of the Mother of God

Commemorated on January 21

      The Batopedeia Icon of the Mother of God is located within the old Batopedeia monastery on Athos, in the church of the Annunciation. It received the appellation of "Batopedeia" from this, that nearby this monastery a young prince named Arkadios fell off a ship into the sea, and by the miraculous intercession of the Mother of God he was carried to shore safe and unharmed. They found him here standing by a bush, not far from the monastery. From this event came the name "Batopedeia" ("batos paidos" – "shrub of the Lord"). The holy Emperor Theodosius the Great in gratitude for the miraculous deliverance of his son embellished and generously endowed the Batopedeia monastery.
      On the Batopedeia Icon, the Mother of God is depicted with face turned towards the right shoulder, in memory that in the year 807 on 21 January, She turned Her face towards the hegumen of the monastery, who was standing at prayer near the holy icon, and forewarned him of the intent of robbers to pillage the monastery. The hegumen took measures of precaution, and the monastery was saved. In memory of this miraculous event in front of the wonderworking icon there burns a perpetual lampada. On Athos this icon is called also "Consolation" ("Otrada") or "Solace" ("Uteshenie").

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.



      The Vatopedi monastery acquired its name in the following manner. Near the monastery, the son of Emperor Theodosius the Great fell off a ship and into the sea. By miraculous intercession of the Theotokos and Virgin Mary, he was carried safely to shore unharmed and found sleeping in a bush, not far from the monastery. Thus the monastery is called Vatopedi (Vato + paidi, derived from "Batos paidion", the bush of the child).
      The tradition tells us that on the icon, the original expression on the faces of the figures and the position of the bodies of Christ and the Blessed Virgin changed when the following strange miracle occurred, January 21, 807:
      Pirates had secretly landed on the shore of the monastery and were hiding, waiting for the gates to open in the morning in order to launch an attack on the monastery of Vatopedi. The Abbot, who had remained behind after the end of Matins in order to continue his prayer, heard these words from the icon of the Blessed Virgin:
      "Do not open the gates of the Monastery today, but go up on the walls and drive away the pirates."
      As he turned to look, he saw the Theotokos turned towards her right shoulder and looking at him, while the Holy child was stretching out His hand to cover the mouth of His mother saying,
      "No, Mother, do not watch over this sinful flock, let them fall under the swore of the pirates and be punished as they deserve."
      But the Blessed Virgin, taking Her Son's hand in Hers and turning Her head a little to free her mouth, repeating the same words.
      This last arrangement of the figures has remained permanently on the icon and has, thus, and has also earned it the rare iconographer's title of "Achaeropito". The monks, miraculously saved from the pirates, gave thanks to the Theotokos and named the icon "Paramythia", which means "calming down" or "restrain," words which equally convey the content of the miracle.
      The icon is a wall-painting and is on the right choir of the chapel named after it. In memory of this miraculous event a perpetual lamp burns in front of the wonderworking icon. Every day a Canon of Supplication is chanted in honour of the icon and on Fridays the Divine Liturgy is celebrated.


Close window


Close window