Recently posted on the Orthodox Christian Network.
A few weeks ago I flew to Houston for a presvytera retreat. We were instructed to wait at the baggage claim for the others and the shuttle bus. I arrived early and it was a pleasure to see my presvytera sisters come around the corner. We got a head start to our hugs and hellos, and caught up on each other’s news.
As I kept an eye out for the shuttle I noticed a man in a cassock wandering the area. I had the sense he was waiting for a traveler. I didn’t go up and say hello, after all, I wasn’t the airport presvytera or hostess. I was technically off-duty.
As the crowds cleared and the flow of travelers dispersed to their cars and rides, another lone man in a cassock appeared. This one was carrying a blue velvet mailbag, and immediately I knew who the first man was waiting for. It wasn’t this second traveler, but THE PANAGIA!
Without any sense of fear or shame, I approached the gentleman and asked him directly if he was carrying a miracle icon. The poor man was a bit dazed, and as he mumbled his confirmation, I quickly followed with, “We are 15 presvyteres waiting for a shuttle to a presvytera retreat. Is it possible to venerate the icon before you leave?”
What a blessing! He lifted the icon out of the velvet bag as we all drew near the sweet aroma of myrrh. One by one, we made the sign of the cross and venerated the “Hawaiian” Iveron Icon. Some cried as we realized the blessing before us. The icon’s caretaker, subdeacon Nectarios, was generous.
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