The Theotokos Icon of Axion Estin (It is Truly Meet)
On June 24, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of one of the most highly venerated icons of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Theotokos icon of Axion Estin, also known as “It is Truly Meet,” has a wonderful history of appearance and is closely related to the Song of Mary, which is frequently used in sermons and chants in the temples. The original icon of Axion Estin is in the Holy Assumption Cathedral in Karyes on Mount Athos. It belongs to the Eleousa (“Merciful”) type of the Mother of God icons.
History of the Mother of God icon “It is Truly Meet”
It is believed that the Mother of God icon of Axion Estin appeared around 980. According to the legend, the miracle happened with the disciple who lived with the Elder not far from Koryes. One Saturday night, when the Elder went to a monastery for service, his disciple remained alone in his cell. Suddenly, somebody knocked at the door. It was an unknown monk. Together they began to pray in front of the icon of the Theotokos and sang the Song of Mary. However, when the disciple started to sing “More honorable than the Cherubim…” the guest explained that they had to start with “It is Truly Meet” first. During the chant, the icon suddenly glowed with a bright divine light. The disciple was so enchanted by the vision and beautiful hymn that he asked the monk to write the text on the stone. After that, the stranger called himself the Archangel Gabriel and disappeared with no trace.
As a result, the Theotokos icon “It is Truly Meet” was transferred to the Holy Assumption Cathedral on Mount Athos, and the stone bearing the text of the hymn was taken to Constantinople. The original miraculous icon, as well as its many copies, are now highly venerated by the Orthodox Church in many countries worldwide.
The Theotokos icon of Axion Estin
The icon of Axion Estin features a half-length image of the Mother of God with the Christ Child. The Virgin Mary is vested in a red-green omophorion. She holds her Divine Son on her right arm. Christ is nestled against His Mother. In His right hand, He holds an unfolded scroll.
The Theotokos icon of Axion Estin, or “It is Truly Meet,” is another splendid example of the Blessed Virgin Mary icons that are so much beloved by Orthodox believers. Stay with us to learn more!