Sacred Pilgrimage to the Myrrh-Streaming icon - the Kardiotissa,
“The Tender Heart” with Archbishop Daniel
Every Wednesday evening, at 6PM hundreds of people flock to. George Orthodox Church in Taylor, PA to participate in a prayer service – Moleben in front of the Myrrh-streaming icon - the Kardiotissa, “The Tender Heart”. Very Rev. Fr. Mark Leasure, pastor of the Carpatho-Rusyn parish in Taylor, PA, where the icon began to stream myrrh, states that “The Tender Heart” myrrh-flowing, miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary has drawn thousands of people to the parish, all through word-of-mouth. Some call these “weeping icons” or simply “myrrh-streaming”, but nonetheless, these holy icons make miracles happen.
The history of the icon begins with a visit of the Myrrh - Streaming Iveron Icon of the Theotokos from Hawaii to St. George’s in October of 2011. Fr. Mark, the pastor of the local parish wiped his parish ’s copy of the icon with cotton that was soaked with miraculous myrrh from the Hawaiian icon. Shortly thereafter the parish copy of the icon also started to stream myrrh. Since that time and to this day it has been abundantly streaming. Moleben services are conducted every Wednesday for crowds that fill the church beyond capacity.
On Wednesday evening, November 15, 2017 His Eminence Archbishop Daniel led the Pilgrimage of Ukrainian Orthodox Christians from All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox Church in New York City, NY (Very Rev. Fr. Vitaliy Pawlykivsky – pastor) to Taylor, PA, where the icon is permanently located at St. George the Great-Martyr Orthodox parish. In addition to the pilgrims from NY City, several Ukrainian Orthodox clergy with their parishioners from NY/PA/NJ area traveled to Taylor, PA as well.
Joining His Eminence for the Moleben service were Very Rev. Fr. Mark Leasure, pastor of St. George Carpatho-Rusyn Church in Taylor, PA with two deacons; Very Rev. Vitaliy Pawlykivsky and Rev. Fr. Yuriy Bazylevsky of All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox parish in New York, NY; Very Rev. Fr. Zinoviy Zharsky of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Trenton, NJ; Very Rev. Fr. Mykola Andrushkiv of St. Luke the Evangelist Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Warners (Syracuse), NY; Very Rev. Yuriy Kasianov of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Cheektowaga (Buffalo), NY and local clergy of various Orthodox parishes in Scranton, PA area. The seminarians of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary joined the congregational chanting of St. George’s parish and at the end of the service, as pilgrims were anointed, chanted beautiful religious community songs in honor of the Birth-Giver of God.
Following the introduction remarks of Fr. Mark, Archbishop Daniel expressed his personal gratitude to His Grace Bishop Gregory of Nyssa (Ruling Hierarch of the Carpatho-Rusyn Orthodox Diocese – Ecumenical Patriarchate) for granting his blessing for the Pilgrimage to take place in the parish under his spiritual care. In addition, Vladyka Daniel reflected upon the experience of a powerful presence of the Myrrh-streaming icon in the journey of so many pious Orthodox Christians and people of various Christian backgrounds that weekly flock to the sacred image. Moreover, Archbishop Daniel shared his personal youth story of a very first encounter with icon the Birth-Giver of God and the profound spiritual impact the Theotokos had on the formation of his life.
Upin the conclusion of the service, hundreds of pilgrims approached the icon to be anointed. The mood was appropriately solemn, the faithful were quiet and orderly in their movements. Fragrant myrrh filled the air. The encounters with the icon of Kardiotissa, “The Tender Heart” were quick and the reactions were surreal. Some came away shaken and streaming tears. A few talked of a wave of peace and calm coming over them. Others described a sense of Divine Presence in their physical structures.
The pilgrims of the Ukrainian Orthodox communities that traveled for several hours to participate in the Pilgrimage stayed for a little while longer in order to speak with their bishop and to receive a final blessing before departure to their homes and parish communities.
Sacred Pilgrimage to the Myrrh-Streaming icon in Taylor, PA - 11/16/2017
Photos by Subdeacon Mykola Zomchak and Tetyana Turetsky