October 25

Mother of God of Philermos, Cetinje, Montenegro

Believed to have come from Jerusalem where St. Luke painted it from life, the icon of Our Lady of Philermos was already enshrined on Mount Filerimos on the Greek island of Rhodes when the Knights Hospitallers took over the island in 1309. The militaristic order adopted Our Lady of Philermos as their patron and took the image with them when the Turks drove them out of Rhodes in 1522. For many years, the Knights and the icon resided in Malta. After Napoleon conquered Malta in 1798, the Knights dispersed. The Philermos icon moved to Russia, where on October 12 (Julian), 1799, it was presented to Emperor Paul I, now Grand Master of the Order, at his residence in Gatchina, 30 miles from St. Petersburg. From then on, Russian Orthodoxy has honored the Mother of God of Philermos on this date (October 25 in the modern calendar). The icon survived the Russian Revolution of October 1917 because it had moved from the royal palace in St. Petersburg back to Gatchina for the occasion. In 1920, Empress Maria Fyodorovna took it with her when she fled to Denmark. After her death the Orthodox clergy moved the sacred image to Belgrade, then, in 1941, to a Montenegran monastery to hide it from the Nazis. In fact, it hid so well that it was believed lost until its rediscovery there in 1997, with even most of its jewels surprisingly intact. The Mother of God of Philermos icon now has a place of honor in the National Museum of Montenegro, where it hangs in the Blue Chapel. (Picture from "Our Lady of Philerme," The Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, www.smom-za.org/ smom/saints/philerme.htm.)   

Also commemorated this date:

bulletImmaculata, Hardenberg-Neviges, Velbert, Mettman, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Foundation laid at great pilgrimage, 1681.
bulletOur Lady of Fatima, Nauli, Western Region, Ghana. Shrine dedicated, 1952. Annual pilgrimage in early December. 
bulletMaria Santissima del Rosario di Pompei, Palermo, Palermo, Sicily, Italy, Cruillas district. Church dedicated, 1896.
bulletMadonna ta' Damaxxena, Valletta, Malta (Our Lady of Damascus). Icon crowned, 1931. Feast August 15.
bulletJerusalem Mother of God, Dormition Cathedral, Moscow, Russia (Oct. 12 old style)
bulletNuestra Seņora de los Remedios, Buenavista del Norte, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Town saved from locusts, 1659.
bulletRudnya-Ratkovo icon of the Mother of God, Rudnya, Mogilev, Belarus (Oct. 12 / 25)

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly