The main sacred object in the Montreal and Canadian Diocese is the Myrrh-streaming Iveron icon of the Mother of God.
The Montreal Myrrh-streaming Iveron Icon of the Mother of God
The Montreal Iveron Icon was painted on Athos in 1981 by a Greek monk from the original Icon of the Mother of God the Portaitisa. In 1982, Jose Munoz Cortez, a Spaniard by origin who had long ago accepted Orthodoxy, brought this icon from Athos to Montreal, Canada. Here is what happened, said Jose Munoz: “On the 24th of November, at three o’clock in the morning, I was wakened by a powerful fragrance. At first I thought that it came from relics or a spilled bottle of perfume; but on going up to the icon, I was awestruck: it was entirely covered with fragrant myrrh! I froze on the spot at such a miracle! Soon the myrrh-streaming icon was taken to church. From that time, the Icon of the Mother God has continuously streamed myrrh, with the exception of Passion Week. It is remarkable that the myrrh has flowed out mainly from the hands of the Mother of God and Christ, and also from the star on the right shoulder of the Immaculate one. At the same time, the back side of the icon is always dry.”
The wonderworking image has been in America, Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria and Western Europe. No matter where this icon has been, it has spread love and concord everywhere, as, for example, in one community where the quarreling parishioners found once again the way to prayer and church unity. Its presence increased prayerful fervor to such an extent that Liturgies performed in its presence could be compared to paschal Liturgies, which are so intense in the Orthodox Church.
Many cases of people’s return to attending church, to going to Confession, to receiving Communion are known. Thus, one poor woman, having learned of the death of her son, prepared to take her own life; but touched to the depths of her soul at the sight of the wonderworking icon, she repented of her horrible intention and immediately went to Confession.
The icon streamed myrrh for fifteen years. On the night of 30-31 October 1997, the custodian of the icon – Jos_ Mu_oz Cortez – was brutally killed in Athens, and the wonderworking Iveron Icon vanished without a trace…