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Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Resurrection! The triumph of  Jesus!  The Sacred Humanity of the Word of God our Savior, and the holy glory of God the Father! Every loving participant of Jesus' Passion  finds his /her place in the Easter story.

The evangelists describe alternating emotions-confusion, surprise, fear, doubt, belief, throughout the accounts of the first Easter. We see a whirlwind of feelings and action: before dawn the holy women are on the road to the tomb; Mary runs back when the tomb is found open; she enlists Peter and John, who take off at high speed with Mary following; Cleopas and companion run back to Jerusalem and before they could say a word, were greeted with identical news: "It is true! We have seen Him!  The Lord is risen!"

The Gospel account of high emotion was not the atmosphere for Her whose firm faith was sheltered in silence. But at the Ascension, forty days later, the apostles and disciples, with the serenity of total conviction, were worthy companions of the Mother of God, who remains  and prays  with them until Pentecost.

The  Byzantine Liturgy has a uniquely beautiful  Easter hymn to the Mother of God but we wait until  Ascension for a note  of human emotion:

She who at the sight of your Passion had suffered more than anyone else in her motherly heart, had more than anyone else the right to share the joy that fills us [in your ascending into heaven].

And now today, this year 2015...I hoped to find an Easter icon, some artist's  rendition of Mary the Mother of God, and the search yielded a happy surprise- The Icon of the Life-giving Spring. Bishop Michael knew this icon and   asked  our iconographer, Constantine Youssis , for this  very icon for our Chapel- in memory of his, the Dudick, family.

The happy coincidence is that this is an EASTER feast- observed only on Bright Friday- with proper prayers added to the Paschal canon !

A brief history of this feast:
In Constantinople on April 4, 480, Leo Marcellus, a soldier, came across a blind man who was lost. Resolving to help the poor man, Leo led him to a shady place and looked for  water.  Leo heard a voice say to him, "Do not trouble yourself, Leo, to look for water elsewhere, it is right here!"

Leo saw no one, nor could he see any water. Again the voice spoke, "Leo, Emperor, go into the grove, take the water which you will find and give it to the thirsty man. Then take the mud [from the stream] and put it on the blind man's eyes… And build a temple [church] here … that all who come here will find answers to their petitions." Leo did as he was told, and when the blind man's eyes were anointed, he regained his sight.
The soldier Leo did become Byzantine Emperor Leo I and  built a church dedicated to the Theotokos of the Life-giving Spring over the site where the spring was located. The church has felt the impact of wars and consequent damage; it was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt.
On September 6, 1955, again the church was destroyed during a riot. A small chapel has been built on the site, to replace the former sizeable church. The spring still flows to this day and is considered by the faithful to have wonderworking properties.
We have Bishop's  icon (in 3 pieces) but it will take some re-doing since there was a measurement error- for certain!