Mother of God “Quick to Hear”

Commemorated on November 9

The wonderworking “Quick to Hear” Icon of the Mother of God is kept at Dokheiarίou Monastery on Mount Athos, and is believed to date from the XI century, during the time of Saint Neophytos, the Igoumen of the Monastery. After the wonderworking Portaitissa Icon, the most famous Icon on Mount Athos is an ancient fresco of the Panagia located outside on the east wall of the trapeza, and to the right of the entrance. In 1664 the Monk Neilos, the steward of the trapeza, often passed before the Icon holding a lit torch in his hand so he could carry out his duties in the trapeza. One day, he heard a voice say to him: “Do not come this way again with your torches, darkening my Icon with smoke.”

Neilos did not pay much attention to the voice, thinking that someone was playing a joke on him. It was not long before he heard the voice again saying, “O monk, unworthy of the name, how long will you continue to darken my Icon with smoke?”

Upon hearing the voice, Neilos was struck blind. Then he remembered that he had heard the voice before, and realized that he deserved this punishment, for he did not heed the command of the Mother of God, but had ignored it in his ignorance.

The next morning, the brethren found him laying on the floor of the corridor before the Icon, unable to see them. When they learned why Neilos had been punished, the monks were terrified. From that time on, they passed by the Icon with great reverence, and hung an unsleeping lamp before it.

Neilos, however, did not want to return to his cell. He remained before the Icon in a stasidi, calling upon the Theotokos with tears and lamentations to forgive him for the sin he had committed. He begged her to restore his sight, as a sign of her forgiveness, so that he might gaze upon her Icon and glorify her.

He was not disappointed in his hopes, for the Mother of God heard the prayers of her repentant servant. He heard her voice a third time, saying, “Monk, your prayer has been heard. You are forgiven, and you shall receive your sight again. Declare to the other Fathers and brethren who struggle here that I am the Mother of God, and that after God, I am the shelter and help and mighty protector of this Monastery of the Archangels, providing for it as its defender and guide. From now on, let the monks come to me for all their needs, and I will hear them quickly, as well as all Orthodox Christians who come to me with reverence, for I am called Quick to Hear.”

Very soon this miracle and the promise of the Theotokos became known throughout the Holy Mountain, and monks from the other Monasteries came to Dokheiarίou to venerate the Icon, and to see the monk who had regained his sight. The corridor was closed off and a chapel was built to house the “Quick to Hear” Icon. One of the most devout and accomplished Hieromonks is appointed to be present in the chapel. He is known as the prosmonarios (προσμονάριος), and he is there most of the time to chant Canons of Supplication before the Icon, which he censes every evening and morning, tending the chapel, and trimming the oil lamps.

The “Quick to Hear” Icon venerated not only on the Holy Mountain, but also by Orthodox Christians all over the world. Countless miracles of healing are worked by the Mother of God through her Holy Icon. The blind receive their sight, paralytics are healed, barren women conceive children, and captives are set free when they approach the Theotokos with faith and reverence.

A copy of the “Quick to Hear Icon” was painted on Mount Athos and was sent as a gift from the Russian and other devout monks of the Holy Mountain to Archbishop Tikhon (later Patriarch of Moscow) of the Aleutian Islands and North America. In May of 1906 that copy of the famous “Quick to Hear” Icon at Dokheiarίou Monastery was carried to Saint Tikhon’s Monastery (in Waymart, PA) in a solemn Cross Procession, along with several others, including one of the Holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon.

The relics of several saints were placed in the Icon. These include the Holy Great Martyr Theodore Stratēlátēs (Feb. 8), Saints Cosmas and Damian the Unmercenary Physicians, Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki (Nov. 14), and the Holy New Martyr Constantine of Mount Athos, who was born on the island of Hydra and suffered at the hands of the Turks on the island of Rhodes on November 14, 1800.

The “Quick to Hear” Icon is now on the iconostasis of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery church.

Mother of God “Quick to Hear” was last modified: November 26th, 2023 by Deacon Kirill