Commemorated on March 12
The Lydda Not-Wrought-by-Hand Icon of the Mother of God (in Lydda on a Pillar): When the holy Apostles Peter and John the Theologian ( preached about the Lord Jesus Christ in the city of Lydda (Diopolis), not far from Jerusalem, a church in the name of the Most Holy Mother of God were made there for the newly-converted. Having journeyed to Jerusalem, the apostles besought the Mother of God to visit it and by Her presence to consecrate and bless the church. The All-Pure Virgin replied: “Go in peace, I shalt there be with ye”. Entering into the church, they beheld the beautiful and wondrous Not-Wrought-by-Hand Image of the Most Holy Mother of God. Later on, the Mother of God Herself visited the Lydda church and bestowed upon the image Her especial grace and power.
During the time of the rule of the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) there occurred at Lydda a new miracle. Stone-masons were despatched into the church to destroy the wonderworking image. However, as they attempted to chip away at the image, it would not disappear, but rather receded more and more within the column. News of the graced image spread throughout all the world. A copy was made from it, which was conveyed to Rome and which likewise received miraculous power (Comm. 26 June).
There existed also another Lydda Not-Wrought-by-Hand Image of the Mother of God. It was situated in a church built at Lydda by Aeneas, who had been healed by the Apostle Peter (Acts 9: 32-35). When the pagans and the Jews wanted to take this church away from the Christians, the governor gave orders that the church be locked up for three days, until some sign should appear for resolving the dispute. And when they opened the church three days later, they saw within it the Not-Wrought-by-Hand Image of the Mother of God.
Three of the Eastern Patriarchs (from Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria) wrote about both of the Not-Wrought-by-Hand Lydda icons in a Letter to the Iconoclast emperor Theophilos (829-842). The emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitos (912-959) spoke about the Letter in a historical account about the Not-Wrought-by-Hand Image of the Saviour at Edessa (Comm. 16 August).
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.