"Machairotissa" Icon of the Mother of God

The Machairotissa (Μαχαιριώτισσα) Icon is a wonderworking icon of the Mother of God in the Holy Machaira Monastery on Cyprus. This Icon is historically and spiritually linked to the Monastery, which owes its name to the history of the Icon.

This Icon is believed to be one of the 70 icons of the Theotokos painted by Saint Luke, and at the time it was located above the Holy Soros (a chest containing the Robe and the Sash of the Theotokos) in the church of the Mother of God at Blachernae (See July 2 and August 31). This is reinforced by the inscription "Hagiosoritissa" on the Icon, which was later changed to "Machairiotissa," from the Greek word for "knife" (μαχαίρι).

According to oral tradition, an ascetic brought the Hagiosoritissa Icon to Cyprus from Constantinople during the Iconoclastic period (716 - 843), and settled in a cave on the site where the monastery stands today. After the ascetic went to the Lord, the Icon was forgotten and the entrance of the cave was sealed until the XII century, when the Theotokos gave a knife to the Holy Ascetics Neophytos and Ignatius (December 13), so that they could cut the bushes away and find the Icon. When Saint Neophytos reposed, another old monk, Father Prokopios, joined Ignatius.

The brotherhood grew too large, and so these two Fathers decided to build a monastery which would be governed according to the cenobitic Rule followed by the great monastic centers of the time. The Holy, Royal and Stavropigial Monastery of Panagia Machairotissa, is located at the eastern end of the Troodos mountain range near the peak of Kionia, at an altitude of 870 meters. It is built on a beautiful mountainside overgrown with pine trees, ending in the Pediaios torrent. It is called a Basilica because it was built with royal assistance, and Stavropegial,1 because the Patriarch had affixed a cross on the side of the building.

The Synaxis of the Machairotissa Icon is celebrated on October 18th, the Feast of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke who, according to Tradition, painted the Machairiotissa Icon. It is kept in the katholikon of the Machaira Monastery. The Icon is also commemorated on November 21, the Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple.

1omophorion of the primate of a Church rather than under the local diocesan bishop.