In March 1939, the abbess of the Gethsemane Convent of St. Mary Magdalene, Abbess Mary (Robinson; +1969), received as a gift from the Lebanese Metropolitan Elijah Karam, an ancient Byzantine icon of the Mother of God “Odigitria”. The history of this icon of the Most Holy Theotokos has it’s origin from 1554, as was written in the document that was attached to the icon. “… in 1935 the inhabitants of the village of Rehani presented it to me on the occasion of my ordination as bishop of Lebanon … At the present moment, as the rightful owner of this great and holy treasure, certify that we present this holy icon as a gift to the honorable mother Abbess Mary. We confirm the content of this document with our episcopal seal.” Soon, the dark, almost black icon renewed itself, began to stream myrrh and those venerating it with faith and prayer receive healing. The Feast of the Gethsemane Hodegetria Icon is celebrated on July 27/ August 10. According to tradition on that day, the Holy Icon is carried in procession around the entire territory of the monastery.

The solemn all-night vigil was led by the head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky) along with hieromonk Misail (Minin) and deacon Vyacheslav Batalsky. The Akathistos Hymn to the Holy Theotokos was sung during the polyeleos (see below).

Hieromonk Feodor (Kirike) joined the above named clergy for the Divine Liturgy. After Liturgy, priest Khadar Baramki of the Greek Patriarchate joined in the moleben and procession with the holy icon around the territory of the convent. The icon was carried by the head of the convent, abbess Elisabeth (Smelic) and then by all the sisters in turn.


After meal, the icon was taken by abbess Elisabeth to the sisterhood of the Resurrection of Christ in al-Azariya (Bethany) where it was greeted by the head sister, mother Maria (Wall). Fr. Feodor and Fr. Khadar, who is the assistant headmaster of the Bethany Orthodox School for Girls, blessed the convent buildings and all the classrooms of the school, afterwhich the holy image was returned to the Convent of St. Mary Magdalene.