MONASTERY OF THE HOLY MARY EIKOSIFOINISSA

Just 35 km. from the city of Kavala, in the marvelous forest on the slope covered with dense greenery of the mountain Pangaion, at an altitude of 753 meters above sea level, is the Monastery of the Holy Mary Eikosifoinissa. This is one of the most significant sacred places of Macedonia, and its name was given by the name of the miraculous icon of the Mother of God, revered by the believers as "the Blessed Virgin's face" Pilgrims from all over the World are flocking to the icon in the monastery. This place is sanctified by the Orthodox tradition from the earliest centuries of Christianity.

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From the beginning the temple and monastery was built by the Bishop of the city of Philippi Sozon, who took part in the Fourth Ecumenical Council in 451 AD, but the founder of the monastery traditionally is Saint Herman (518 AD), whose young years passed at the monastery of St. John the Baptist in the Jordan , and his desire was always to follow the examples of the ascetic life of his spiritual predecessors, the Monk Zosima of Palestine and the Monk Maria of Egypt, which later allowed him to move to Macedonia and establish a monastery in honor of the "Holy Mother of God".

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Laying the foundation on the ruins of an ancient monastery for a new church, Saint Herman found two crosses, from which healing began to occur and pilgrims began to flock to the hermit. After collecting a little money the monk hired builders to erect the church but after the construction was over he did not have enough money to pay off the workers for which he was brutally beaten and bound. It happened that during this time Ambassadors of the Byzantine emperor Vasily, Nikolai and Neophyte passed through these places, and after seeing the associated monk and finding out the details, they paid the workers the required amount and released Herman.

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When the construction of the temple was completed Saint Herman decided to draw the icon of the Holy Mother of God. He found a suitable tree for the icon and made the foundation, but when the monk began to draw the icon the base split and was not at all suitable for work. The frustrated monk retired for prayer when suddenly the Virgin herself appeared in front of him in a bright light, telling that for faith and diligence she would bestow upon him a miraculous face. At the same time the worker, who was near the splintered cloth, saw in front of him an unknown beautiful woman with a baby.

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She looked at the wooden frame and said that this board fits the icon, and they are in vain looking for another. The stunned youth rushed to the abbot with all his might. St. Herman and the workers hurried to the workshop, where on an absolutely whole wooden canvas found a miraculous image of the Mother of God illuminated by the rays of "the color of the Phoenicians" that is red as the Phoenician porphyry. So the icon was called "Holy red", which in Greek sounds like Ikosifinissa (Εικών Φοίνισσα - Εικοσιφίνισσα).

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Despite the difficult future fate of the monastery, accompanying the repeated ravages of the Turks and Bolgar, the plundering of the Monastery the brutal beating of monks, the attempt to desecrate the Icon, fires and natural disasters, the icon of the Virgin Icosifinissa has survived to this day. For an early prayer, believers consider her to be a Icon of help. In the monastery are kept numerous notes, which attest to the miracles it performs.

The solemn veneration of the icon takes place at the monastery several times a year: on August 15 (at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin), on September 8 (at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin), on September 14 (on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross) and on November 21 (on the Introduction to the Temple of the Blessed Virgin)

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