Just before Holy Week, a report came that a holy icon of “John the Forerunner” was exuding a fragrant substance identified by church clerics (this an Orthodox church, in Homer Glen, Illinois) as “myrrh.”
It was interesting on several counts, for your deliberation.
First, it was nearly automatically accepted by the local diocesan chief, Metropolitan Lakovos of Chicago and the chancellor, Demetrious of Mokissos, who told the church priest overseeing it, Father Sotirios Dimitriou, that the fragrant trickles of what is actually an unknown substance, since July, was “a blessing to the community.”
Such a quick embrace is common in Orthodox settings and rare in Catholicism.
Second, that title of the icon: “John the Forerunner.” It speaks for itself. He paves the way for Christ.
And lastly, at least for now: the interesting interpretation, apparently by Father Sotirios, or at least the website reporting it, that the substance is “myrrh,” or like myrrh.
As one can find on the internet: “The Hebrew word for myrrh is Mowr which means ‘distilled,’ and comes from the root word Marar which means ‘bitterness.’
During the Messiah’s final agonizing hours in the Garden of Gethsemane, the weight of the world’s sins crushed our Savior like a wine press, causing Him to sweat great tears of blood.
“His bitter sufferings can be compared to myrrh, a highly-prized spice used for perfumes and incense, extracted by piercing the tree’s heartwood and allowing the gum to trickle out and harden into bitter, aromatic red droplets called ‘tears.’
When the myrrh flows from the tree, it is distilled in bitterness.”
A Holy Thursday contemplation.
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