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The original of the icon of the Mother of God called “Axion Esti”, or “It is truly meet,” is kept in the Holy Dormition Katholicon in Karyes, Mt. Athos. In the tenth century the Archangel Gabriel came in monastic clothes to a monk who was keeping vigil before this icon When the monk began to sing “More honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who without corruption gavest birth to God the word, the very Theotokos, thee do we magnify,” the angel told him that the angelic choirs preface this with “It is truly meet and right to bless thee, Theotokos, ever-blessed all-pure Mother of our God.”
Overwhelmed by the beauty of the song, the monk asked his visitor to write it down, which he did–inscribing it on a stone as if it were soft wax–then disappeared. It soon became the custom to sing this Angelic hymn at the most solemn and joyous moment of every liturgy, just after the Consecration. The scroll which Jesus and his Mother are holding is the verse Jesus read in the synagogue in Nazareth after His forty days in the wilderness (Luke 4:16): “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me….” (Isaiah 61:1-2)
Monk Michael of Athos
|Church Feast Day 1
20th c. (Late)