On Sunday, Oct. 7, at the end of the Divine Liturgy, St. Paul’s dedicated the Axion Estin (“It Is Truly Meet”) icon of the Theotokos which was commissioned by our parish and recently completed. Here is some information about the icon:
This icon, enshrined at St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church of Emmaus, Pennsylvania, is modeled on the original Axion Estin (“It Is Truly Meet”) icon of Mount Athos (feast day, June 11).
It was in AD 980 before the Athonite icon that the expanded version of the hymn “More honorable than the cherubim…” was first sung by the Archangel Gabriel, who added the prelude “It is truly meet to call thee blessed, O Theotokos, ever-blessed and all-blameless and the Mother of our God,” and inscribed the hymn miraculously with his finger on a slate tile. The hymn has been sung ever since in the Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church.
The original Axion Estin icon is kept in the apse of the Protaton Church in Karyes on Mount Athos.
The Axion Estin of Emmaus was painted by iconographer Protodeacon Paul Drozdowski in 2018. It features the main inscription in four languages: Greek (next to the head of the Virgin), Church Slavonic and Arabic (at top), and English (at bottom).
The six saints who surround the Theotokos and the Lord Jesus are the Holy Hierarchs of America: (top) Tikhon of Moscow and Raphael of Brooklyn, (middle) Innocent of Moscow and Mardarije of Libertyville, (bottom) John of San Francisco and Nikolaj of Žiča. All served in America, and several of them spent time in Pennsylvania.
Through the prayers of the most holy Theotokos and the Holy Hierarchs of America, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us!