“The painting looked like it is clothed with flesh and oil dripped from it”

September 19, 2022

Amid the thirty-three feasts of Holy Mother Saint Virgin Mary, the veneration of the miracle Saint apostle Luke paintings is celebrated in our Holy orthodox church especially in our country Ethiopia, in a church found at Addis Ababa city around Buraeau. On September 10 (Ethiopian Calendar) in the country called ‘Tsedenya’, Saint Mary’s painting which looks like it is clothed with flesh, dripped oil from it.

On this blessed day, we commemorate the story of Saint Mary’s painting. It said in the country of Tsedeniya, there was a woman called Marta who loved dearly our Holy Mother. She also loved to shelter those in need and in voyage. One day, an Ethiopian monk Abba Tewodros came to her seeking a place to stay and so this good woman served him. The following day, whilst the monk set out for his journey, the woman asked of his whereabouts and he informed her his passage to Jerusalem. Hearing this, Marta asked him to buy her saint Mary’s painting, but Abba Tewodros told her he would buy it to her with his own money.

Reaching in Jerusalem and finishing his veneration of the holy places, the monk forgetting to but the painting, he set out to return back. But then suddenly, a frightening voice came to him reminding to buy the painting. So, he bought the picture and on his way, he encountered bandits and Abba Tewodros attempted to flee but then again, another voice came out from the painting saying to pass by and she covered him from the bandits. Another time, a lion came to eat him. Then the painting made a threatening sound and scared it off. Witnessing these miraculous, the monk was unwilling to give the painting to Marta. So, he decided to keep for himself but it was the will of God.

Abba Tewodros gave the painting to Marta and when she opened the wrappings of the painting and found that drops of oil were falling from it. she took the painting into her prayer-chamber, and laid it upon a stand in a recess with great honors. she made for it a brass grating, so that no one could touch it, and she hung before it lamps which burned by day and by night, and outside these she hung silken curtains. Beneath the picture she set a marble bowl into which the drops of oil, which sweated out from it, might be collected. The monk Abba Tewodros dwelt with the widow and ministered to the painting of our Lady Mary until they both died.

When the archbishop of that city heard the report of the painting he, and the bishops and the priests and all the people came to the house. Then they looked at the tablet with the painting and found that it was in the condition of being covered with flesh. They marveled at this divine work. Having emptied out the oil from the bowl, and divided it among themselves as a blessed thing, the bowl filled up again immediately. They attempted to remove the picture to another spot a great earthquake took place, and many people died. The picture remains there until this day. (Ethiopian Synaxarium)

May the blessing of Saint Mary be with us, Amen!