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All-Merciful Kykko Icon of the Mother of God

Commemorated on November 25
All-Merciful Kykko Icon of the Mother of God
The All-Merciful Kykko Icon of the Mother of God: This icon was painted, according to Tradition, by the holy Evangelist Luke. It received its name “Kykkiotisa” from Mount Kykkos, on the island of Cyprus. Here it was placed in an imperial monastery (so designated because it was built with donations from the Emperor), in a church named for it. Before coming to the island of Cyprus, the wonderworking icon of the Mother of God was brought throughout the region by the will of God. 


At first, it was in one the earliest Christian communities in Egypt, and then it was taken to Constantinople in 980, where it remained in the time of Emperor Alexius Comnenos (end of the eleventh to early twelfth century).
During these years it was revealed to the Elder Isaiah through a miraculous sign, that by his efforts the wonderworking image painted by the Evangelist Luke would be transferred to Cyprus. The Elder exerted much effort to fulfill the divine revelation.
When the icon of the Mother of God arrived on the island, many miracles were performed. The Elder Isaiah was instrumental in building a church dedicated to the Theotokos, and placing the Kykko Icon in it. From ancient times up to the present day, those afflicted by every sort of infirmity flock to the monastery of the Mother of God the Merciful, and they receive healing according to their faith. The Orthodox are not the only ones who believe in the miraculous power of the holy icon, but those of other faiths also pray before it in misfortune and illness.
Inexhaustible is the mercy of the Most Holy Theotokos, Mediatrix for all the suffering, and Her icon fittingly bears the name, the “Merciful.” 
A copy of this icon is particularly venerated at the women’s Nikolsk monastery in the city of Mukachev.

The title takes its name from what is said to be the most revered icon of the Blessed Mother and Child on the island of Cyprus. The ancient, miracle-working icon is believed to date back to the reign of Alexius I Comnenus (or Alexios I Komnenos, 1081-1118). Tradition tells that the icon was responsible for the miraculous healing of the emperor’s daughter, a high court official, and possibly the emperor himself. In the end, Alexius sent the icon to Cyprus, keeping an exact copy for himself although he had originally intended to keep the original for himself and send the copy to Cyprus. He entrusted the icon to the monk Isaiah (or Esaias), who accepted the holy image and founded the monastery of Our Lady Eleousa on Mount Kykkos, on the north west face of Troodos Mountains, that was heavily endowed by the emperor. The icon was worshiped by Muslims as well as Christians, and the Ottoman Empire exempted the monastery from taxes because of it. The icon continues to be preserved in a special case at the monastery church and is commemorated annually on November 12, December 26, and January 15. She is also known as Our Lady Kykkotissa; Virgin Kykkotissa; and Eleousa Kykkotissa. Veneration of the Our Lady of Kykkos spread to Russia in the early 17th century, especially in the south. Simon Ushakov’s well-acclaimed 1668 icon of Our Lady of Kykkos is a copy of the earlier work and is preserved in the church of St. Gregory of Neocaesarea at Bolshaya Polyanka, Moscow. Also see the title Mother of God Eleousa. 


The wonderworking “Kykkiotisa” Icon of the Mother of God possesses a remarkable peculiarity: from what time period is unknown, but it is covered by a half shroud from the upper left corner to the lower right, so that no one is able to see the faces of the Mother of God and the Divine Infant. The depiction of the Mother of God appears to be of the Hodigitria (“Directress”) type, as is also the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God. The head of the Mother of God is adorned with a crown.



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