During the years of the second iconoclasm  the miraculous icon of the Panagia "Portaitissa" was kept, according to tradition, in Nice in Asia Minor by a pious woman and her only son. The iconoclasts discovered the image and threatened the woman that would kill her. At night, she prayed before the icon, went down to the beach and left the icon in the sea in order to be saved. The pious woman was crying and mourning for the loss of the image, but Virgin Mary comforted her in her sleep by telling her that the picture would be sent to a place where it will be worshiped for centuries from people around the world speaking different languages.

Panagia Portaitissa

After the appearance of the Virgin Mary, the woman confided the dream to her son and urged him to leave and go to Greece. The child went to Mount Athos, where lived as a monk. He became a monk in a place where later was founded the Monastery of Iviron, there he informed other monks about the history of the miraculous image. After several years in 1004 a.d. the image appeared in the sea in front of the Monastery Iviron on Mount Athos, standing upright on the water. The monks were wondered by the fact and tried to save the image from the sea but an invisible force prevented from succeeding.

Among the monk there was one called Gabriel. To him Virgin Mary appeared and said the following:

"Tell the brothers that I will give you My picture, to protect you. You must enter the sea, and walk on the waves, so everyone will understand my favor for your monastery. "

The hermit obeyed and went down to the beach and marched without hesitation on the sea approached the image and after he embraced it with great reverence took it to the coast where he placed it flowed holy water.

The hermit Gabriel together with the monks, carried the image in church of the monastery and placed in a prominent position. The next day the icon was not found in the church, but above the gate of the monastery. This happened many times and then the monks understood that Virgin Mary wants to stay near the gate.

Virgin Mary appeared to Gabriel and said, "Tell the brothers not to disturb me. I did not come here to be protected but in order to keep you safe. Those who live on this Mount in virtuous should hope to the mercy of my Son. Because, as long as my picture stays into your monastery, the grace and His mercy will always outshine"

And after this, they monks built a chapel next to the monasteries gate and the image was moved there.


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