One of the worlds first icon is supposed to be an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary that St Luke, the Evangelist, was credited with painting at the very beginning of the church.

Mary the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God, The Mother of the Church, had much respect amongst the disciples and faithful of the early church. She lived about 10 years in Jerusalem after the Resurrection. When she ascended to heaven all the apostles were there when she fell asleep. She was the strength and inspiration of the church and she is the key to their relationship with Jesus.

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The present icon of the Mother of Perpetual Help was within a Byzantine Monastery in the 13h century. On June 23, 1867, Pope Pius IX gave it to the Redemptorists with orders to take care of it and to make it popular to the whole world. The original is in Rome today at the General home of the Redemptorists.

On February 2, 1931 Blessed Nicholas Charnetsky was ordained Bishop in front of the icon in Rome. During the ordination, his mitre fell off his head and rolled down the floor. Some were alarmed as they took it as a bad sign. He died a martyr.

Just a few years ago our Synod proclaimed the Mother of Perpetual Help as a church holiday to be celebrated each year.

Our Mother of Perpetual Help

This Byzantine icon is very important in that it is a link between our Church, and many people around the world. This is one of the most famous and well known icons in the world.

Mary of Perpetual Help is very popular in most countries of the world. In the Philippines, every church has this icon, and there are many holidays in her honour. St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne has a huge icon by the front door.

What does this icon mean to us? Why does our Ukrainian Synod want all of us to pray before the icon?

The answer is found by looking at the icon. The icon invites us to pray about the mystery of God who wants to be part of us and in us. In the icon, humans meet God (the Divine) In times of distress and anxiety and trouble we all feel helpless. By looking at the icon we see the security of Mary, our Mother, and the Mother of Jesus. Her prayer will protect us.

As Jesus himself looks at the tension of the two angels holding the symbols of His suffering on Calvary, He runs to His Mother so quickly that one of his shoes falls off. He holds on tight to His mother.  She holds Him very closely but looks directly at us to us and seems to say to us to come to her as well.

The Bible tells us that Mary, all her life, pondered the life of Jesus and the church. She knows God’s plan, God’s will.

Her faith is a model of our faith. She helps us understand our faith.

Mary, the Mother of Perpetual Help, is a sign to us that God is always faithful to his people. God is close to us. He loves us. He protects us.

When we are in trouble, we should turn to Mary. She leads us to God. God never betrays us.

Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for us