Life-Giving Spring

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[[Image:Life_Giving_Spring.jpg|thumb|right|An icon of the Panagia the Life Giving Spring, from Messinias (Pilos, Greece).]]
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[[Image:Theotokos the Life-Giving Font.jpg|thumb|right|Icon of the Theotokos the Life-Giving Font. 17th c.]]
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:''This article is about the [[feast day]] of the Life-Giving Spring. For the historic monastery see [[Church of the Life-Giving Font of the Theotokos (Istanbul)]].''
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The '''Life-Giving Spring''' or '''Life-Giving [[Font]]''' of the [[Theotokos|Mother of God]] (Greek: Ζωοδόχος Πηγή; Russian: Живоносный Источник) is a [[feast day]] in the Orthodox Church that is associated with [[Church of the Life-Giving Font of the Theotokos (Istanbul)|a historic church]] just west of Constantinople in [[w:Balıklı, Istanbul|Valoukli]], as well as an icon of the [[Theotokos]].
  
The '''Life-Giving Spring''' or '''Life-Giving Font''' of the [[Theotokos|Mother of God]] (in Greek: Ζωοδόχος Πηγή) is both the [[feast day]] of [[w:Church of St. Mary of the Spring (Istanbul)|a historic church]] just west of Constantinople in [[w:Balıklı, Istanbul|Valoukli]], and an icon of the [[Theotokos]].
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The [[feast day]] of the Life-Giving Spring is commemorated on [[w:Easter Friday|Bright Friday]] of each year (the Friday following [[Pascha]]), being the only feast day which may be celebrated during [[Bright Week]], while the commemoration of the Life-Giving Spring ''[[Icon]]'' of the Most Holy [[Theotokos]] is observed on [[April 4]].  
 
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The present church, built in 1835, bears the same dedication as the shrine erected in this place between the end of the fifth and beginning of the sixth centuries, named from the nearby [[w:Holy well|holy spring]] with [[w:Thaumaturgy|wonderworking]] properties. For almost fifteen hundred years, this sanctuary has been one of the most important [[pilgrimage]] sites of Greek Orthodoxy.<ref name="JANIN">Raymond Janin (in French). ''La Géographie ecclésiastique de l'Empire byzantin. 1. Part: Le Siège de Constantinople et le Patriarcat Oecuménique. 3rd Vol.: Les Églises et les Monastères.'' Paris: Institut Français d'Etudes Byzantines. 1953. p.232-37.</ref>
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The Life-Giving Spring ''[[Icon]]'' of the Most Holy [[Theotokos]] is commemorated by the [[Orthodox Church]] on [[April 4]]. The [[feast day]] of the Life-Giving Spring itself is commemorated on [[w:Easter Friday|Bright Friday]] of each year (the Friday following [[Pascha]]), being the only feast day which may be celebrated during [[Bright Week]].
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==Revelation of the Life-Giving Spring==
 
==Revelation of the Life-Giving Spring==
 
[[Image:Saint Mary Of The Spring.jpg|right|thumb|The [[w:Holy well|Holy well]] (Hagiasma) of the Church of the Life Giving Font (Istanbul).]]
 
[[Image:Saint Mary Of The Spring.jpg|right|thumb|The [[w:Holy well|Holy well]] (Hagiasma) of the Church of the Life Giving Font (Istanbul).]]
There are two accounts extant concerning the revelation of the Life-Giving Font.<br>
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[[Image:Procession-Feast of Zoodohos Pigi-Arcadia,Greece-1950s.jpg|thumb|right|Procession on the [[feast day]] of the Life-giving Spring, [[w:Bright Friday|Bright Friday]] 1959, [[w:Arcadia|Arcadia]], Greece.]]
 
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There are two accounts extant concerning the revelation of the Life-Giving Font just outside the City of Constantinople. It is likely that in either case, before the 5th-6th century monastery was erected, a shrine was already in existence with a [[w:Spring (hydrosphere)|spring of water]], near a grove of trees, and was dedicated to the [[Theotokos]] from early times. Over time, the grove had become overgrown and the spring became fetid.<ref>Archpriest Feodor S. Kovalchuk. ''Wonder-Working Icons of the Theotokos.'' Youngstown OH: Central Satates Deanery, 1985. pp.67–70.</ref><br>
'''Procopius'''<br>
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The first is recorded by the prominent Byzantine scholar [[w:Procopius|Procopius of Caesarea]] (flourishing ca.500-565).<ref group="note">The 11th century Byzantine historian [[w:George Kedrenos|George Cedrenus]] also mentions this version.</ref> In this version, the Emperor [[Justinian]] was out hunting when he came upon a small [[chapel]] in a beautiful wooded area, surrounded by a large crowd of people and a priest in front of a spring. Inquiring about this site, he was told that this was the “source of miracles”. He at once ordered that a magnificent church be built there, utilizing materials that had remained after the erection of the [[Hagia Sophia (Constantinople)|Hagia Sophia]].<ref name="JANIN"/> The church was erected in the last years of his reign, ca.559-560, near the holy spring.<ref group="note">In this context, "Holy Spring/Holy Font/Holy Source" becomes synonymous with the Greek: ἁγίασμα, ''hagiasma''; Lit.: 'sanctuary'.</ref> After the erection of the sanctuary, the Gate that was situated outside the [[w:Walls_of_Constantinople#Theodosian_Walls|walls of Theodosius II]] was named by the Byzantines ''Gate of the Spring'' (Greek: Πύλη τῆς Πηγῆς).<ref>Wolfgang Müller-Wiener (in German). ''Bildlexikon zur Topographie Istanbuls: Byzantion, Konstantinupolis, Istanbul bis zum Beginn d. 17 Jh..'' Tübingen: Wasmuth, 1977. pp.416.</ref> It is possible that before the Justinian's building was erected, a small monastery dedicated to the [[Theotokos]] had already existed there from early times.
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'''Nicephorus Callistus'''<br>
 
'''Nicephorus Callistus'''<br>
  
A second account is given by [[w:Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos|Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos]], the last of the Greek ecclesiastical historians, who flourished around 1320. This tradition begins with a miracle that occurred involving a soldier named Leo Marcellus, who would later become the Byzantine Emperor [[Leo I (emperor)|Leo I the Thracian]] (457-474). While Leo was on his way to Constantinople he encountered a blind man near the [[w:Walls_of_Constantinople#Golden_Gate_and_the_Yedikule_Fortress|Golden Gate]] who was thirsty. Though he agreed to search for water, he was unable to find any. A female voice was then heard who told the future Emperor that there was water nearby. Looking about, he could see no one, and neither could he see any water. Then he heard the voice again:
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The traditional account is recorded by [[Nikephoros Kallistos|Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos]], the last of the Greek ecclesiastical historians, who flourished around 1320. This tradition begins with a miracle that occurred involving a soldier named Leo Marcellus, who would later become the Byzantine Emperor [[Leo I (emperor)|Leo I the Thracian]] (457-474). While Leo was on his way to Constantinople he encountered a blind man near the [[w:Walls_of_Constantinople#Golden_Gate_and_the_Yedikule_Fortress|Golden Gate]] who was thirsty. Though he agreed to search for water, he was unable to find any. A female voice was then heard who told the future Emperor that there was water nearby. Looking about, he could see no one, and neither could he see any water. Then he heard the voice again:
:"Emperor Leo, go into the deepest part of the woods, and you will find water there. Take some of the cloudy water in your hands and give it to the blind man to drink. Then take the clay and put it on his eyes. Then you shall know who I am."<ref name="OCA">OCA - Feasts and Saints. [http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsLife.asp?FSID=32 Bright Friday. The Life Giving Spring of the Mother of God].</ref>
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:"Emperor Leo, go into the deepest part of the woods, and you will find water there. Take some of the cloudy water in your hands and give it to the blind man to drink. Then take the clay and put it on his eyes. Then you shall know who I am."<ref name="OCA">OCA - Feasts and Saints. ''[http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsLife.asp?FSID=32 Bright Friday. The Life Giving Spring of the Mother of God].''</ref>
The same voice added that she had chosen that very place to be worshiped and prophesied that he would one day receive the crown to the empire. Leo followed her order and at once the blind man recovered his eyesight. After his accession to the throne, the Emperor erected a magnificent church on this place, and the water continued to work miraculous cures. Therefore, it was called "The Life-Giving Spring."  
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The same voice added that she had chosen that very place to be worshiped and prophesied that he would one day receive the crown to the empire. Leo followed her order and at once the blind man recovered his eyesight. After his accession to the throne, the Emperor erected a magnificent church on this place, and the water continued to work miraculous cures. Therefore, it was called "The Life-Giving Spring."
  
==Vicissitudes of the Church==
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'''Procopius'''<br>
In its history, the fountain had been destroyed and then rebuilt on many occasions, at the request of the Virgin Mother.
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'''Ottoman era'''<br>
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In the 15th century, the city of Constantinople fell into the hands of the Muslims. The [[w:Church of St. Mary of the Spring (Istanbul)|Church of the Life-giving Spring]] was destroyed, and its building materials were used to construct the [[w:Bayezid II Mosque|Bayezid II Mosque]] for the Sultan. The church site was covered with earth and crushed stone, so that the very foundations of the church disappeared from sight. The beautiful surrounding areas were turned into a Muslim cemetery. A Turkish sentinel, placed at the ruins of the church, forbade Christians not only to gather at the site, but even to approach there.
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Little by little, the strictness of this ban eased, and Christians were permitted to build a small church there. Twenty-five steps led down into the chapel, which had a window in the roof to let the light in. The holy Spring was still there, surrounded by a railing.
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However after the Greek War of Independence in 1821, even this little chapel was destroyed, and the Spring was buried under the rubble.
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Once again Christians cleaned up the ruins, reopened the spring, and once again drew water from it. Even upon these shards of the former magnificent holy structure, the Theotokos, as before, granted hearings through her grace. Later, among the broken pieces in one of the windows was found, already half-rotted away through time and dampness, a panel on which were recorded ten miracles which occurred at the Life-giving Spring during the period 1824-1829.
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[[Image:Procession-Feast of Zoodohos Pigi-Arcadia,Greece-1950s.jpg|thumb|right|Procession on the [[feast day]] of Panagia the Life-giving Font in the village of Kastri, [[w:Arcadia|Arcadia]], Greece, ca.1959, on [[w:Bright Friday|Bright Friday]].]]
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During the reign of Sultan [[w:Mahmud II|Mahmoud II]], the Orthodox received a measure of freedom to conduct religious services. They used it to erect, for the third time, a church above the Life-giving Spring, with work beginning in July of 1833. While workmen were clearing the ground, they uncovered the foundations of the earlier church. The Sultan allowed them to build not just a chapel, but a new and beautiful church on the foundations of the old one. Construction began on September 14, 1833, and was completed on December 30, 1834.
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On February 2, 1835, with great pomp, the Ecumenical Patriarch [[Constantius II of Constantinople|Constantine]], celebrating with 20 bishops and an enormous flood of the faithful, [[Consecration of a church|consecrated the church]] which stands to this day,
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dedicating it to the Most Holy [[Theotokos]].
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Nearby was built a hospital and alms-house. Even the Muslims spoke with great respect of the Life-giving Spring, and of the [[Theotokos]], who through it pours out her grace-filled power. "Great among women Holy Mary" is how they refer to the Most Holy Virgin. The water from the Life-giving Spring they call the "water of Holy Mary."
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'''Modern era'''<br>
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A second account is given by the prominent Byzantine scholar [[w:Procopius|Procopius of Caesarea]] (flourishing ca.500-565).<ref group="note">The 11th century Byzantine historian [[w:George Kedrenos|George Cedrenus]] also mentions this version.</ref> In this version, the Emperor [[Justinian]] was out hunting when he came upon a small [[chapel]] in a beautiful wooded area, surrounded by a large crowd of people and a priest in front of a spring. Inquiring about this site, he was told that this was the “source of miracles”. He at once ordered that a magnificent church be built there, utilizing materials that had remained after the erection of the [[Hagia Sophia (Constantinople)|Hagia Sophia]].<ref name="JANIN">Raymond Janin (in French). ''La Géographie ecclésiastique de l'Empire byzantin. 1. Part: Le Siège de Constantinople et le Patriarcat Oecuménique. 3rd Vol.: Les Églises et les Monastères.'' Paris: Institut Français d'Etudes Byzantines. 1953. p.232-37.</ref> The church was erected in the last years of his reign, ca.559-560, near the holy spring.<ref group="note">In this context, "Holy Spring/Holy Font/Holy Source" becomes synonymous with the Greek: ἁγίασμα, ''hagiasma''; Lit.: 'sanctuary'.</ref> After the erection of the sanctuary, the Gate that was situated outside the [[w:Walls_of_Constantinople#Theodosian_Walls|walls of Theodosius II]] was named by the Byzantines ''Gate of the Spring'' (Greek: Πύλη τῆς Πηγῆς).<ref>Wolfgang Müller-Wiener (in German). ''Bildlexikon zur Topographie Istanbuls: Byzantion, Konstantinupolis, Istanbul bis zum Beginn d. 17 Jh..'' Tübingen: Wasmuth, 1977. pp.416.</ref>
On September 6, 1955, the church was destroyed again during the [[w:Istanbul Pogrom|Istanbul Pogrom]]. Another small chapel has been rebuilt on the site, but the church has not yet been restored to its former size. The spring still flows to this day and is considered by the faithful to have [[w:Thaumaturgy|wonderworking]] properties.
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==The Icon==
 
==The Icon==
[[Image:Panagia Argokiliotissa.JPG|thumb|left|Modern Greek icon of the Theotokos of the Life-giving Spring ("Panagia Argokiliotissa", Naxos).]]
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[[Image:Panagia Argokiliotissa.JPG|thumb|right|Greek icon of the Theotokos the Life-giving Spring ("Panagia Argokiliotissa", Naxos).]]
 
The icon representing the Virgin of the Spring shows the Virgin blessing and embracing the Child. She is surrounded by two angels, and is sitting on the more elevated of two basins, presumably representing the "living water" which is [[Christ]].<ref group="note">This living water is contained in the [[Cross]] which must be born by all those who follow Him, just as He did.</ref> The living water from the more elevated basin flows into a larger marble basin below, which is in the shape of a [[cross]].<ref group="note">In the early Church, the baptismal font was actually in the form of a cross, just like the cross depicted in this icon. Christians would enter from the base of the cross and come out at the top, and then re-enter from the left of the cross and come out on the right of the cross; then the priest, who would be standing in the middle of the cross/baptismal font, would commune them.</ref>  
 
The icon representing the Virgin of the Spring shows the Virgin blessing and embracing the Child. She is surrounded by two angels, and is sitting on the more elevated of two basins, presumably representing the "living water" which is [[Christ]].<ref group="note">This living water is contained in the [[Cross]] which must be born by all those who follow Him, just as He did.</ref> The living water from the more elevated basin flows into a larger marble basin below, which is in the shape of a [[cross]].<ref group="note">In the early Church, the baptismal font was actually in the form of a cross, just like the cross depicted in this icon. Christians would enter from the base of the cross and come out at the top, and then re-enter from the left of the cross and come out on the right of the cross; then the priest, who would be standing in the middle of the cross/baptismal font, would commune them.</ref>  
  
In one modern Greek version of the icon that was found on Naxos island, Greece,<ref group="note">Icon of "Panagia Argokiliotissa", from Naxos island, Greece (Greek: Παναγία η Αργοκοιλιώτισσα - Νάξος).</ref> some differences are shown with respect to the ancient type. Around the cross-shaped basin stands the Emperor with his guard, while on the right there is the Patriarch with his bishops. In the background, is represented Leo I with the blind man, together with the walls of the City. Under the basin a paralytic and a madman are healed with the spring’s water.
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In one version of the icon that was found on Naxos island, Greece,<ref group="note">Icon of "Panagia Argokiliotissa", from Naxos island, Greece (Greek: Παναγία η Αργοκοιλιώτισσα - Νάξος).</ref> some differences are shown with respect to the ancient type. Around the cross-shaped basin stands the Emperor with his guard, while on the right is the Patriarch with his bishops. In the background, is represented Leo I with the blind man, and the walls of the City. Under the basin a paralytic and a madman are healed with the spring’s water.
 
<!---
 
<!---
 
The fish in this pool, it is said, are descended from the fishes that miraculously jumped out of the frying-pan and into this spring ... (NOTE - research to find this story in more detail).
 
The fish in this pool, it is said, are descended from the fishes that miraculously jumped out of the frying-pan and into this spring ... (NOTE - research to find this story in more detail).
 
--->
 
--->
  
==List of Churches and Monasteries==
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==Hymn==
The Life-Giving Spring gave origin to many churches and monasteries bearing the same name in the Greek world. Most of them were erected after the end of the Byzantine Empire.
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In Orthodox hymnography, the ''Theotokos'' is frequently compared with a ''Holy Fountain''. The hymns and prayers of the feast are combined with the Paschal hymns, and there is often a Lesser [[Holy water|Blessing of Waters]] performed after the [[Divine Liturgy]] on [[w:Easter Friday|Bright Friday]]. In old [[Church of Russia|Russia]], continuing Greek traditions, there was a custom to sanctify springs that were located near churches, dedicate them to the [[Theotokos|Holy Mother]], and paint icons of her under [[Theotokonymia|the title]] ''The Life Giving Spring''.<ref>Kristina Kondratieva (Global Art Communications project). ''[http://www.iconkuznetsov.com/index.php?sid=341&did=264&lang=eng Panagia The Life Giving Spring].'' Yuriy Kuznetsov: Icons of the XXI Century. Accessed: 2011-05-19.</ref>
  
'''Churches'''<br>
 
*[http://www.zoodohospigi.gr/ The Life-Giving Spring] Acadimias, Athens
 
*[http://www.theotokos-lifegiving-spring.org/ Theotokos of the Life-Giving Spring Russian Orthodox Mission] - Bryan, Texas
 
  
'''Monasteries'''<br>
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[[Troparion|Apolytikion]] (Tone 3)<ref name="OMHKSEA">[[Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia]]. ''[http://www.omhksea.org/2011/05/bright-friday/ Bright Friday].'' Accessed: 2011-09-28.</ref>
*Original monastery in Constantinople.
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*[http://www.malf.net/spring.htm Monastery of the Theotokos the Life-Giving Spring] - Dunlap, California
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:As a life-giving fount, thou didst conceive the Dew that is transcendent in essence,
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:O Virgin Maid, and thou hast welled forth for our sakes the nectar of joy eternal,
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:which doth pour forth from thy fount with the water that springeth up
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:unto everlasting life in unending and mighty streams;
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:wherein, taking delight, we all cry out:
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:Rejoice, O thou Spring of life for all men.
  
==Hymn==
 
In Orthodox hymnography, the ''Theotokos'' is frequently compared with a ''Holy Fountain''. The hymns and prayers of the feast are combined with the Paschal hymns, and there is often a Lesser Blessing of Waters performed after the [[Divine Liturgy]] on [[w:Easter Friday|Bright Friday]].
 
  
[[Kontakion]] ([[Tone]] 8)<ref name="OCA"/>
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[[Kontakion]] (Plagal of Tone 4)<ref name="OMHKSEA"/>
:O most favored by God,  
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:O Lady graced by God,  
:You confer on me the healing of your grace from your inexhaustible Spring.  
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:you reward me by letting gush forth, beyond reason,
:Therefore, since you gave birth incomprehensibly to the Word,  
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:the ever-flowing waters of your grace from your perpetual Spring.  
:I implore you to refresh me with the dew of your grace that I might cry to you:
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:I entreat you, who bore the Logos, in a manner beyond comprehension,  
:Hail, O Water of salvation.
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:to refresh me in your grace that I may cry out,
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:“Hail redemptive waters.
  
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
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*[[Church of the Life-Giving Font of the Theotokos (Istanbul)]]
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*[[Holy water]]
 
*[[Panagia Blachernitissa]]
 
*[[Panagia Blachernitissa]]
*[[Life-giving Fount of the Theotokos]]
 
  
 
==Notes==
 
==Notes==
Line 89: Line 68:
 
*[[w:Holy well|Holy well]]
 
*[[w:Holy well|Holy well]]
 
'''Other'''
 
'''Other'''
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*[http://iconreader.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/theotokos-of-the-life-giving-spring/ Gallery of Life-Giving Spring Icons]
 
*[http://www.mgr.org/TheVeil.html The Miracle of The Veil] in Constantinople 911 AD.
 
*[http://www.mgr.org/TheVeil.html The Miracle of The Veil] in Constantinople 911 AD.
 
*[http://www.orthodox.net/questions/bright_week_1.html#a5 Question 5. "What feast is celebrated Bright Friday?"], St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, Dallas Texas.
 
*[http://www.orthodox.net/questions/bright_week_1.html#a5 Question 5. "What feast is celebrated Bright Friday?"], St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, Dallas Texas.
 
'''Greek Wikipedia'''
 
'''Greek Wikipedia'''
 
*[http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%96%CF%89%CE%BF%CE%B4%CF%8C%CF%87%CE%BF%CF%82_%CE%A0%CE%B7%CE%B3%CE%AE_%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%85_%CE%9C%CF%80%CE%B1%CE%BB%CE%BF%CF%85%CE%BA%CE%BB%CE%AE Ζωοδόχος Πηγή του Μπαλουκλή]
 
*[http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%96%CF%89%CE%BF%CE%B4%CF%8C%CF%87%CE%BF%CF%82_%CE%A0%CE%B7%CE%B3%CE%AE_%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%85_%CE%9C%CF%80%CE%B1%CE%BB%CE%BF%CF%85%CE%BA%CE%BB%CE%AE Ζωοδόχος Πηγή του Μπαλουκλή]
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'''Russian Orthodox Encyclopedia'''
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*[http://www.pravenc.ru/text/182259.html «ЖИВОНОСНЫЙ ИСТОЧНИК»]. Православная Энциклопедия.
  
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[[Category:Feasts]]
 
[[Category:About Icons]]
 
[[Category:About Icons]]
 
[[Category:Icons of the Theotokos]]
 
[[Category:Icons of the Theotokos]]
 
[[Category:Theotokonymia]]
 
[[Category:Theotokonymia]]
[[Category:Monasteries]]
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[[ro:Izvorul Tămăduirii]]

Latest revision as of 18:18, November 30, 2012

Icon of the Theotokos the Life-Giving Font. 17th c.
This article is about the feast day of the Life-Giving Spring. For the historic monastery see Church of the Life-Giving Font of the Theotokos (Istanbul).

The Life-Giving Spring or Life-Giving Font of the Mother of God (Greek: Ζωοδόχος Πηγή; Russian: Живоносный Источник) is a feast day in the Orthodox Church that is associated with a historic church just west of Constantinople in Valoukli, as well as an icon of the Theotokos.

The feast day of the Life-Giving Spring is commemorated on Bright Friday of each year (the Friday following Pascha), being the only feast day which may be celebrated during Bright Week, while the commemoration of the Life-Giving Spring Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos is observed on April 4.

Contents

Revelation of the Life-Giving Spring

The Holy well (Hagiasma) of the Church of the Life Giving Font (Istanbul).
Procession on the feast day of the Life-giving Spring, Bright Friday 1959, Arcadia, Greece.

There are two accounts extant concerning the revelation of the Life-Giving Font just outside the City of Constantinople. It is likely that in either case, before the 5th-6th century monastery was erected, a shrine was already in existence with a spring of water, near a grove of trees, and was dedicated to the Theotokos from early times. Over time, the grove had become overgrown and the spring became fetid.[1]

Nicephorus Callistus

The traditional account is recorded by Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos, the last of the Greek ecclesiastical historians, who flourished around 1320. This tradition begins with a miracle that occurred involving a soldier named Leo Marcellus, who would later become the Byzantine Emperor Leo I the Thracian (457-474). While Leo was on his way to Constantinople he encountered a blind man near the Golden Gate who was thirsty. Though he agreed to search for water, he was unable to find any. A female voice was then heard who told the future Emperor that there was water nearby. Looking about, he could see no one, and neither could he see any water. Then he heard the voice again:

"Emperor Leo, go into the deepest part of the woods, and you will find water there. Take some of the cloudy water in your hands and give it to the blind man to drink. Then take the clay and put it on his eyes. Then you shall know who I am."[2]

The same voice added that she had chosen that very place to be worshiped and prophesied that he would one day receive the crown to the empire. Leo followed her order and at once the blind man recovered his eyesight. After his accession to the throne, the Emperor erected a magnificent church on this place, and the water continued to work miraculous cures. Therefore, it was called "The Life-Giving Spring."

Procopius

A second account is given by the prominent Byzantine scholar Procopius of Caesarea (flourishing ca.500-565).[note 1] In this version, the Emperor Justinian was out hunting when he came upon a small chapel in a beautiful wooded area, surrounded by a large crowd of people and a priest in front of a spring. Inquiring about this site, he was told that this was the “source of miracles”. He at once ordered that a magnificent church be built there, utilizing materials that had remained after the erection of the Hagia Sophia.[3] The church was erected in the last years of his reign, ca.559-560, near the holy spring.[note 2] After the erection of the sanctuary, the Gate that was situated outside the walls of Theodosius II was named by the Byzantines Gate of the Spring (Greek: Πύλη τῆς Πηγῆς).[4]

The Icon

Greek icon of the Theotokos the Life-giving Spring ("Panagia Argokiliotissa", Naxos).

The icon representing the Virgin of the Spring shows the Virgin blessing and embracing the Child. She is surrounded by two angels, and is sitting on the more elevated of two basins, presumably representing the "living water" which is Christ.[note 3] The living water from the more elevated basin flows into a larger marble basin below, which is in the shape of a cross.[note 4]

In one version of the icon that was found on Naxos island, Greece,[note 5] some differences are shown with respect to the ancient type. Around the cross-shaped basin stands the Emperor with his guard, while on the right is the Patriarch with his bishops. In the background, is represented Leo I with the blind man, and the walls of the City. Under the basin a paralytic and a madman are healed with the spring’s water.

Hymn

In Orthodox hymnography, the Theotokos is frequently compared with a Holy Fountain. The hymns and prayers of the feast are combined with the Paschal hymns, and there is often a Lesser Blessing of Waters performed after the Divine Liturgy on Bright Friday. In old Russia, continuing Greek traditions, there was a custom to sanctify springs that were located near churches, dedicate them to the Holy Mother, and paint icons of her under the title The Life Giving Spring.[5]


Apolytikion (Tone 3)[6]

As a life-giving fount, thou didst conceive the Dew that is transcendent in essence,
O Virgin Maid, and thou hast welled forth for our sakes the nectar of joy eternal,
which doth pour forth from thy fount with the water that springeth up
unto everlasting life in unending and mighty streams;
wherein, taking delight, we all cry out:
Rejoice, O thou Spring of life for all men.


Kontakion (Plagal of Tone 4)[6]

O Lady graced by God,
you reward me by letting gush forth, beyond reason,
the ever-flowing waters of your grace from your perpetual Spring.
I entreat you, who bore the Logos, in a manner beyond comprehension,
to refresh me in your grace that I may cry out,
“Hail redemptive waters.”

See also

Notes

  1. The 11th century Byzantine historian George Cedrenus also mentions this version.
  2. In this context, "Holy Spring/Holy Font/Holy Source" becomes synonymous with the Greek: ἁγίασμα, hagiasma; Lit.: 'sanctuary'.
  3. This living water is contained in the Cross which must be born by all those who follow Him, just as He did.
  4. In the early Church, the baptismal font was actually in the form of a cross, just like the cross depicted in this icon. Christians would enter from the base of the cross and come out at the top, and then re-enter from the left of the cross and come out on the right of the cross; then the priest, who would be standing in the middle of the cross/baptismal font, would commune them.
  5. Icon of "Panagia Argokiliotissa", from Naxos island, Greece (Greek: Παναγία η Αργοκοιλιώτισσα - Νάξος).

References

  1. Archpriest Feodor S. Kovalchuk. Wonder-Working Icons of the Theotokos. Youngstown OH: Central Satates Deanery, 1985. pp.67–70.
  2. OCA - Feasts and Saints. Bright Friday. The Life Giving Spring of the Mother of God.
  3. Raymond Janin (in French). La Géographie ecclésiastique de l'Empire byzantin. 1. Part: Le Siège de Constantinople et le Patriarcat Oecuménique. 3rd Vol.: Les Églises et les Monastères. Paris: Institut Français d'Etudes Byzantines. 1953. p.232-37.
  4. Wolfgang Müller-Wiener (in German). Bildlexikon zur Topographie Istanbuls: Byzantion, Konstantinupolis, Istanbul bis zum Beginn d. 17 Jh.. Tübingen: Wasmuth, 1977. pp.416.
  5. Kristina Kondratieva (Global Art Communications project). Panagia The Life Giving Spring. Yuriy Kuznetsov: Icons of the XXI Century. Accessed: 2011-05-19.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Bright Friday. Accessed: 2011-09-28.

External links

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