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Holy Apostles Church Welcomes
Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa

By on October 4, 2013

Our_LadyforwebSaddle Brook, NJ — The pilgrimage of the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa will make a stop on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at Holy Apostles Eastern Orthodox Church located at 17 Platt Avenue (off Saddle River Road) in Saddle Brook.  There will be a Healing Service with Anointing at 3 PM and an Evening Prayer with Outdoor Procession and Anointing at 7 pm.

“It is a special blessing for Holy Apostles and Saddle Brook to have this historic icon visit us.  We are honored to share this once in a lifetime experience with our community”, said Father Matthew Brown, Rector of Holy Apostles Church.

Revered by Orthodox Christians and Catholics alike, the icon began its journey in Vladivostok, Russia and proceeded to Fatima, Portugal, travelling 65,000 kilometers through 24 countries, visiting 75 cathedrals and 60 Orthodox churches in over 400 cities.  The icon began its US journey in Maryland in August and will continue until the Fall of 2014 before it goes on to Mexico and then to Central and South America.  The prime object of the Pilgrimage is to encourage and promote ongoing prayer and awareness of the Sanctity of Life by praying to the Mother of God for the defense of human life and the end of abortion.

The icon—a magnificent replica of the original in the Monastery of Jasna Gora in Poland, (copy attached) and per tradition liturgically united with the original—was blessed in a special ceremony by the Archbishop of Czestochowa.

The painting displays a traditional composition well known in the icons of Eastern Orthodoxy. The Virgin Mary is shown as the “Hodegetria” (“One Who Shows the Way”). In it the Virgin directs attention away from herself, gesturing with her right hand toward Jesus as the source of salvation. In turn, the child extends his right hand toward the viewer in blessing while holding a book of gospels in his left hand. The icon shows the Madonna in lys robes.

The legend concerning the two scars on the Madonna’s right cheek is that the Hussites stormed the Pauline monastery in 1430, plundering the sanctuary. Among the items stolen was the icon. After putting it in their wagon, the Hussites tried to get away but their horses refused to move. They threw the portrait down to the ground and one of the plunderers drew his sword upon the image and inflicted two deep strikes. When the robber tried to inflict a third strike, he fell to the ground and squirmed in agony until his death. Despite past attempts to repair these scars, they had difficulty in covering up those slashes (as they found out that the painting was painted with tempera infused with diluted wax). In commemoration of the attack, two slashes on her right cheek were made by a pen.

Father Matthew Brown, Rector of Holy Apostles Church, invites all to come to either of the two services open to the public:

• Tuesday, October 8, 2013  - 3:00 pm:  Healing Service with Anointing

• Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 7:00 pm: Evening Prayer with Outdoor Procession And Anointing

Light refreshments will be offered after both services.