The icon of the Mother of God “Softener of Evil Hearts” presents the narrative of Saint Simeon's prediction at the presentation of God in the Temple. As he blessed the infant Christ and His mother, he said that Jesus would defeat sin and affirm goodness, and his mother would endure boundless sorrow. Indeed, her suffering was unimaginable. She witnessed the Her Son's arrest, execution, and death. As Jesus was dying on the Cross, she stood by. Her anguish defied all human imagination.
The icon depicts her without the infant Christ. Her hands are folded and her heart is pierced by seven swords (the icon is also called "Seven Swords"). It is as if she is trying to cover the wound of her heart from these seven swords. In the scripture, the number seven represents fullness. The Mother of God had her full share of sorrows. Every mother in the world will relate to them. For three years, Christ preached all around the Holy Land. He created many enemies, and his mother's heart was aching. She knew well what was coming.
But she also put all her trust in the Lord. As the Scripture tells us, not a hair of our head will perish without God's will. There is God's will to all things that happen to us. It is hard for us to accept suffering, especially when we believe we had not deserved it. But perhaps these sorrows come to us for a reason - to temper our souls and make them pure. In our suffering, we become wiser and more sober. We learn to concentrate on things that matter the most and put the spiritual ahead of the material.
In their prayers before this icon, believers ask for God's help in softening their hearts and the hearts of others. In our disputes with others, we often become too embittered and recalcitrant. Our souls harden as we become wooden in our self-righteousness and unresponsive to the views of others. We ask for the intercession of our Mother in Heaven to melt the ice in our hearts.
There would be far more joy in our lives if we could only give more thought to the meaning of our feasts - the Day of All Saints included. What does this day mean to us?
The Annunciation of the Theotokos reminds us about the fact that our Savior Jesus Christ entered this world through Virgin Mary’s womb and became incarnate in order to save us.
On the feast day of the Dormition, we honour the translation into the eternal life in God of the Most Holy Theotokos, who leads us along to God, comforts us on the journey to His Kingdom, and embraces us with His Divine Love
The Meeting of the Lord is the feast of our coming together with the Saviour. It is an event that opens our eyes to the reality of our salvation in the incarnate Lord.
The birth of the Holy Theotokos is very special. She bore and brought into the world our Saviour, son of man and son of God. Through her, humanity reestablished the intimate connection to Him in the flesh and blood.
Fifty days after Holy Pascha, the Orthodox celebrate one of the twelve Great Feasts - Pentecost or the Holy Trinity Sunday. This year Pentecost falls on June 12th in the Belarussian Orthodox Church.
Each of our monastery’s workshops has prepared its own wonderful gift this Christmas Season. Our artists have been painting on glass and ceramics, embroidering serviettes, carving small wooden Nativity scenes, making toys and painting Christmas…