Virgin Mary Paramythia carving made of Agioreite gilded canvas and natural pine wood. The outline of the image is carved and the feeling of relief is created.
In the past there was a custom, when the fathers left the Catholic Church, after the end of the Orthros service, to embrace the icon of the Virgin Mary that was in the exonarthex. There the Abbot gave the keys to the gate of the Monastery, which was closed for the evening hours, to the porter to open. One year, at the beginning of the 14th century, on January 21, Orthros ended. The fathers retired to their cells to rest, until their daily ministrations began.
Then the gate of the Monastery would be opened. They did not know that pirates were lurking outside it, – at that time it was a scourge in the Aegean sea -, who had surrounded it, ready to invade to destroy everything. The Abbot was alone in the church, devoted to his prayer. He jumped suddenly hearing a voice, which did not sound like a human voice. Frightened, he looked around.
He didn’t see any. Besides, no one was inside the temple. And yet someone spoke. He concentrated his attention and, full of fear, realized that the voice came from the image of Theodoros. Reverently he strained his ear to listen. He then heard the voice of the Virgin Mary saying: “Do not open the gate of the Monastery today, but after climbing the walls, chase away the pirates.”
Amazed, the Abbot fixed his eyes on the image of the Virgin. Then he saw an amazing miracle. The form of the Virgin Mary was alive. The baby Jesus she was holding in her arms also took life. He moved his right hand and closed the mouth of his holy Mother, turning his bright face towards her. A sweet child’s voice was heard saying: “Don’t, Mother, don’t tell them. Let them be punished, as they deserve, for neglecting their solitary duties.’
Then the Lady Theotokos, with great motherly care towards her only Son, raised her hand slightly, held his little hand, inclined her holy face a little to the right and repeated more strongly: “Do not open the gate of the Monastery today, but after you have gone up to the walls, drive out the pirates…And look to repent, because my Son is angry with you.” He repeated for the third time the warning: “Today, do not open the gate of the Monastery…”. After the dialogue, Our Lady and the Holy Child were again restored to her as an icon.
She was called “Panagia Paramythia”, meaning Comforter. And rightly so, because as the pilgrims of the Monastery say, who can’t get enough of seeing it, the sight of the sweet expression on the face of the Virgin Mary rests, rests, calms and comforts the human soul.