Icon of the Mother of God "Axion Estin" ("It Is Truly Meet or Merciful")

Copies of this icon began to appear in Russia in the second half of the 19th century. According to Church tradition, its name is connected with the hymn of the same name dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos. On June 11, 980, a stranger in monastic robe came to a novice living in a secluded cell on the Holy Mount Athos and stayed with him for the night. During prayer the novice was going to chant the usual Theotokian hymn, "More Honorable Than the Cherubim," but his guest unexpected­ly began to sing a new, unknown hymn beginning with the words "It is Truly Meet," adding to them the usual "More Honorable Than the Cherubim." The surprised novice asked his guest to put down the words of the hymn for him. There was no parchment and ink in the cell, so the guest wrote the words on a stone slab with his finger. Having finished writing, he said, "From now on you and all the Orthodox Christians should sing thus." Then he gave his name as the Archangel Gabriel and disappeared. The icon before which the Archangel and the novice sang the hymn, known as the "Merciful" Icon of the Mother of God, was given a second name, "It Is Truly Meet." Feast day: June 11/24.