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Votive Hands Dedicated to Theotokos

Submitted by Yuri Klitsenko, Russia

A fanatical Jewish priest (sometimes named Iefoniya or Athonios), out of spite and hatred for the Mother of Jesus of Nazareth, wanted to topple the funeral bier on which lay the body of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, but an Angel of God invisibly cut off his hands , which had touched the bier. Only after the priest acknowledged the Virgin's holiness, his hands were restored.

The Icon of the Mother of God, named "Of Three Hands"

("Troeruchitsa"): In the IX Century at the time of the Iconoclasts, the Monk John Damascene (+ c. 780, Comm. 4 December) was zealous in his veneration of holy icons. The caliph gave orders to cut off the hand of the monk and take it to the marketplace. Towards evening Saint John, having asked the caliph for the cut-off hand, put it to its joint and fell to the ground before the icon of the Mother of God. The monk begged Our Lady to heal the hand, which had written in defense of Orthodoxy. The Mother of God bid him toil without fail with this hand. Having awakened from sleep, the Monk John saw that his hand was unharmed. In thankfulness for this healing the Monk John placed on the icon a hand fashioned of silver, from which the icon received its name "Of Three Hands".

Yuri Klitsenko is a Russian living in Moscow.  He works for the Russian Orthodox Church.

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