Kykkos icon of Mother of God "Merciful"

The name of this icon comes from that of Mt.Kykkos in the north-western part of Cyprus. The holy image, which, according to a legend, was painted by the Apostle St.Luke, was sent by him to the Egyptian Christians. In Egypt, however, disturbances broke out and. in order to save the icon, it was translated to a secluded island. On the way there it was seized by Arabs, but soon Byzantines recaptured it and sent it to the imperial palace in Constantinople. In the reign of Emperor Alexius Comnenus (1081-1118), the icon was translated to Cyprus. There exist numerous legends associated with this event, which tell about countless cures of members of the imperial family and common people. This miracle-working icon has one interesting feature: no one can see its original, for it is kept under a coverlet. He who dares lift the coverlet will suffer God's punishment. In 1699, Patriarch Gerasimus of Alexandria removed the coverlet and was punished. Only after he offered a prayer to the Mother of God was his wrongdoing forgiven. Apparently, it was in the 17th century that copies of this miraculous icon appeared in Russia. Feast day; November 12/25.