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Panagia Portaitissa

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The [[icon]] '''Panagia Portaitissa''' ("She who resides by the door" or "Keeper of the gate") also known as ''Theotokos Iverskaya'', and more recently the ''Iveron Mother of God'', is a wonder-working icon of the [[Theotokos]] that was, according to traditions, painted by the [[Apostle]] and [[Evangelist]] [[Saint]] [[Apostle Luke|Luke]].
This icon is considered to be the most famopus famous and most revered miraculous icon icon of the [[Theotokos]] on the [[Mount Athos|Holy Mountain]] <ref> The official icon for [[Mount Athos]] is the [[Panagia Axion Estin]]</ref>. It is a pre-[[iconoclasm|iconoclastic]] Byzantine icon, with dimensions of 1.37 x 0.94 m. The entire icon is encased by an 1819 gold and silver shirt covering the entire icon except for the faces. The most unique characteristic of the image is what appears to be a scar on the chin of the Virgin.
==History of the icon==
In the 9th century, during the reign of [[Theophilus the Iconoclast]], it This icon was the personal property of a devout widow from [[Nicea]] <ref> This town in Asia Minor no longer exists, but in its time it was the venue for two Ecumenical Councils; the first, which composed the first eight articles of Nicean Creed, and the seventh, which reinstituted the veneration of icons after a lengthy struggle with the iconoclast heresy, which had erroneously equated the veneration of icons to idol worship. </ref> in Asia Minor, who kept it and honored it in her private [[chapel]]during the 9th century.  The emperor's men who heard of this decided not to carry out immediately the order about icons, but tried to blackmail its rich owner. In the time which they gave her to collect the money they demanded, the widow took the icon and her dearly loved son and, after fervent prayer, took it to the sea and left it on the surface of the waves, so that it should not be defiled by the iconoclasts. The icon stood upright on the water and began to head towards the west, while the widow's son, following her advice, also fled towards the west to escape persecution. Later he became a [[monk]] and died on the north-east coast of Mount Athos near or in the [[Monastery]] of Clement (now [[Iviron Monastery (Athos)|Iviron Monastery]]), and so the [[anchorite]]s round about heard from him the story of the icon.
One evening, when monks from Georgia ([[w:Caucasian Iberia|Caucasian Iberians]]) had started to live at the Monastery of Clement, an amazing phenomenon puzzled all the monks of the area: a column of fire stood upright on the sea and reached to the heavens. This vision continued to be seen for several days, and then the monks saw the icon adrift in the sea. They made their supplications to God that this priceless treasure should be given to them, and the Theotokos appeared to the devout anchorite Gabriel the Iberian and bade him to walk on the water to take the icon and to give it to the [[abbot]] and brethren of the monastery.

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