I was blessed to be the spiritual son of Saint Porphyrios, a Saint of the Orthodox Church who lived and reposed in unceasing prayer for the unity of the entire Christian world. On the last night of his earthly life, Saint Porphyrios died saying the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus: “That they may be one”, as a sacred legacy for the unity of the whole world in the light of truth. (John 17:22)
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:32
The icon of the Virgin Mary ,”That they all shall be one” the Patriot, was depicted as an icon in 2006, to fulfill the legacies of Saint Porphyrios and Saint Paisios, legacies which are relevant for Orthodox Hellenism but also for all of humanity, in particular in these difficult times that we are experiencing both as a nation and as humanity as a whole.
We created this sacred legacy as an icon in 2006, and we delivered it as a gift to His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in 2009. It is the icon of our Holy Lady “the Patriot, That They May Be One” (In Greek: Panaghia Patriotissa, Ina Osin En) which symbolizes the unity of the whole Christian world, in the light of truth. It is the first time in 2000 years of Christianity, that the sacred prayer of Jesus Christ to His Father for the unity of humanity is depicted in a holy icon. “How indeed can glory be glorified, or the source of light be enlightened?” St John Damaskene.
Delivering the copy of this icon to His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch (26th of June, 2009), I expressed to him that I serve this sacred legacy of my Spiritual Father. Moreover, I emphasized that an important part of our effort is to promote Ioannis Kapodistrias as a role model, since throughout his earthly life, he served the unity of the Church and of all o Christianity, not only in Greece, but in the whole of Europe as well.
His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew gave us his Blessing for this difficult task calling our venture a significant achievement. He thanked us warmly for the gift of the icon of our Holy Lady “The Patriot, That They May Be One”, and he gave his Blessing to offer the same icon as a gift of mutual brotherly love to the Pope of Rome.
Ahand-painted copy of this icon was also delivered to His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (19-12-2009), as well as to the Vatican’s representative in Athens, Mr. Luigi Gatti.
The unity of the Christian world seems impossible in human terms. Especially when human actions lead to quite opposite results. However, “the things which are impossible with man are possible with God” (Luke 18:17). For this reason, when we pray before this icon, we chant the Hymn to the Mother of God “The Universal Glory” which was composed by St. John of Damascus. In this hymn, the Mother of God is extolled as the one who unites those who are separated by destroying the wall of enmity, thereby ushering in peace and opening the Kingdom of Heaven, as only She can do.
I pray that the Lady Theotokos brings peace to the whole human race, for the good of the whole world.
Elder Georgios Alevras
The icon of our Holy Lady “The Patriot, That They May Be One” resides at the Sacred Monastery of Great Lavra, which is the most ancient monastery on Mount Athos, founded in 963.