In the tradition of Orthodoxy, there are many different iconographic images of the Mother of God. Most of them are little known, being a purely local shrine. However, there are also samples marked by church-wide veneration. Among them, by its unusualness, stands the image, called the Seven-Shot. About this icon, as well as the prayers that are before it, will be discussed in this article.
The meaning of the
The seven-sided icon of the Virgin has another name - "Softening of Evil Hearts". Less often it is also called Simeon prover. In its essence, this icon is an illustration to the event of the Feast of the Meeting, that is, the celebration of the Lord's Meeting described in the Gospel. When Jesus Christ was still a baby, his mother, that is, the Virgin, brought him his first time to the temple in Jerusalem. There they were met by a righteous man named Simeon. According to legend, this man was one of the translators of the Holy Scriptures in Greek, which took place in Egypt three hundred years before the birth of the Savior. When Simeon translated the book of the prophet Isaiah, he doubted whether it was written there that the virgin would conceive and give birth to a son. After hesitating, he decided that this was a mistake, and he wrote the word "woman" in the translation. At that moment an angel appeared before him, who informed him that the original prophecy about the conception of a virgin was true, and to dispel his doubts, he would be given the opportunity to see this wonderful baby. And here Simeon three hundred years waited for this meeting (meeting - in Slavic) at the temple. Finally, he waited. When Mary gave him the baby in his arms, the prophetic spirit came upon him, and he prophesied of the newborn Jesus, noting that his mother would also "have a soul". This weapon, that is, the suffering of the Mother of God, is symbolically portrayed in the icon "Seven" in the form of seven swords piercing her heart. Swords are represented by seven, because in the biblical tradition this number means completeness and completeness.
This legend, no doubt, is apocryphal in relation to the original Christian tradition. But this does not detract from its moral significance, which gave birth to a second, more practical interpretation. Since Mary is venerated in Orthodoxy, as the heavenly queen and the spiritual mother of all Christians, the weapon that pierces her is not only sorrow from the pains that Jesus Christ received on the cross, but also the sins of men, for which he crucified and endured. Seven swords in this context mean the seven deadly sins that pierce the loving and sorrowful heart of the Mother of God.
Origin of the image
Where did this icon come from, nobody knows. According to a pious legend, she was discovered by a peasant from Vologda, who was seriously ill with limp and partial paralysis. No doctors could cure him. Once in a dream, he was instructed to climb the belfry of the local church of St. John the Divine and take an icon from there. Of course, the clergy of the cathedral did not take this revelation seriously and twice refused the old man a request, knowing full well that there are no icons there. But the peasant was persistent, and in the end he was allowed to climb the belfry to make sure himself of the meaninglessness of his words. However, he barely rose to the top, recognized the icon in one of the boards, which served as a step on the stairs. The image was immediately dropped down, cleaned and served a prayer service. Then the first prayer of the Mother of God of the Seven Sisters was uttered, as a result of which the peasant was completely healed. Since then, miracles have been happening from the icon. And this, in turn, led to the spread of fame about the miraculous image. From it began to make lists, which now exist a huge number in several varieties. The original image after the repression of the 1930s, unfortunately, disappeared, it is still not found.
What are they praying before the Seven-sided image of the Mother of God?
As with any icon, the prayer of the Mother of God of the Seven Sisters can be dedicated to any occasion. However, the specific character of the image has formed a special sphere of needs, mainly in which they address Mary before this icon. First of all, these are requests for peace and for overcoming anger, hatred and vengefulness on the part of someone. Actually, that's why she was nicknamed "Softening of Evil Hearts". Offended people, severe bosses, strict parents and teachers - in all these cases the prayer of the icon of the Seven-Sister can be turned. How to pray to the Theotokos does not really matter. Below, examples of prayers will be given, but in general you can refer to Mary in your own words, if only they were sincere. The importance of not the beauty of prayer, but the ardent believing heart. If this condition is met, then no doubt, the prayer of the icon of Seven-Sister will be heard. When to pray, how, how much - it all does not matter.
The text of the prayer before the seven-pointed icon
For example, we still cite several generally accepted texts that people in the churches read at public services and at home. The main prayer of the mother of God the seven-sided in the Russian translation is:
"Oh, much afflicted mother of God, exceeding all the daughters of the earth with her purity and her sufferings that you have borne on the earth! Take our sorrowful prayers and save us under the protection of your mercy, because we have no other shelter and so ardent defender like you - We do not know, you have boldness in the prayers that were born of you, so help us and save us with your prayers, so that we can reach the heavenly kingdom without hindrance, and there with all the saints we should sing the one Trinity - God, now and forever and forever and ever. "Amen!"
This is the usual prayer of the Mother of God of the Seven Sisters. The whole of the Christian faith in it is represented by the intercessor, which she is, according to the ideas of Orthodox Christians. There are also more brief prayers dedicated to this image. They have a special liturgical purpose and are called troparion and kontakion.
Troparion, Tone 5
Soften our wicked hearts, Mother of God, and destroy the attacks of those who hate us, and save our soul from hardship, your holy image of those who watch. By your compassion and mercy to us, we are brought to the tender end and we kiss your wounds, our arrows, which torment you, we are afraid. Do not let us, the good mother perish in our hardness of heart from the cruelties of others, since you are truly evil hearts softening.
Kontakion, voice 2
By Thy grace, Mistress, soften your wicked hearts, send down benefactors, guarding them from all evil, and praying kindly to thee for the holy icons.
Kontakion, troparion and the official prayer of the Mother of God of Seven Sisters reflect her basic idea - overcoming evil in the hearts. However, this icon also serves as a symbol of heart sorrow, therefore any suffering of the soul can be poured out before this image. For example, it could be a request for help in organizing a happy personal life.
Prayer for the Icon of the Seven-Sick Mother of God from Loneliness
O Madame-Lady of the Mother of God, pour your great mercy upon me, giving me the strength to get rid of the heavy burden of the solitude of the soul. Release me from every evil curse, from the influence of unclean spirits, from evil, imposed on my life. Amen!