frame|180px|The Holy and wonderworking icon of '''Panagia Soumela''' or '''Panagia Soumeliotissa''', painted by the hand of St. [[Apostle Luke|Luke the Evangelist]].]]
The Holy and wonderworking icon of '''Panagia of Soumela''' or '''Panagia Soumeliotissa''' was painted by the hand of St. [[Apostle Luke|Luke the Evangelist]] according to tradition.
The icon predates the historic [[w:Sümela Monastery|Monastery of Panagia Soumela]] (386-1923), which was built at [[w:Trabzon|Trapezounta]] in Pontus, on a high rock,
at which the holy icon was kept for centuries.
The name “Soumela” comes from the Greek phrase “Stou Mela” (i.e. “at mount Melas”) and consequently signifies a particular locality in [[w:Pontus|Pontus]]. In the Pontic Greek dialect it is pronounced “sou Mela”. Hence the meaning, “Panagia at Mt. Mela”.
==Panagia Soumela Monastery==
At some point two Athenian monks were called by the Virgin to follow the ''Panagia Athiniotissa'' from the Church in Athens to Mount Mela in Pontus of Asia Minor, a region in current day Turkey. They were St. Barnabas, and his acolyte St. Sophronios.
At Mt. Mela, the icon was found in a cave at the end of the fourth century A.D. A monastery was built at this place to the glory of God, and the icon was renamed '' 'Panagia Soumela'.'' The monastery was inaugurated by the Bishop of [[w:Trabzon|Trapezounta]] in 386 A.D. During the decline of the Byzantine Empire, the monastery served as a centre of education. The monastery was pillaged many times but was always rebuilt, with the latest construction occurring around 644 A.D.
Trapezounta was occupied by the Turks in 1461 and so was the monastery. Despite these difficult times, the monks remained in the monastery unshaken in their faith and tradition.
==New Monastery of Panagia Soumela in Greece==
In 1950, Dr. [[w:Filon Ktenidis|Philon Ktenides]] encouraged fellow Pontic Greeks in Greece to build a new church for Panagia Soumela. The church was built on a site amid the Macedonian mountains in Greece. This sight was Kastania of Vermio. It was chosen because it reminded Dr Ktenides of the wild and natural beauty of the heights of Mt. Mela in Turkey.
At the moment, the Church is triune, meaning that it also has two chapels, dedicated to St. [[Apostle John|John the Theologian]], and our Holy Godbearing Father St. [[David of Euboea]] (Evia). Many Pontic Greeks flock to the Greek Orthodox parish of East Keilor every year on [[August 15]].
* Kon Bouzikos. ''[http://pontosworld.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1464&Itemid=98 The History of the icon of Panagia Soumela]''. Pontus World.
* Fr. Antōnios G. Krinas. ''[http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/27837787?selectedversion=NBD24778044 Panagia Theotokos: 110 icons, 40 feasts and paraklisis].'' North Dandenong, Vic.: A. Krinas, 1998. 144pp. ISBN 0958587108
Original [[w:Sümela Monastery|Panagia Soumela Monastery]], in [[w:Trabzon Province|Trabzon Province]], modern Turkey. ::''(New Monastery of Panagia Soumela is in the village of Kastania, in Macedonia, Greece, housing the original wonderworking icon of Panagia Soumela)''
* [[w:Saint Christopher of Trebizond|Saint Christopher of Trebizond]]