Holy icon visits Detroit’s Holy Trinity Orthodox Church

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

For years, the faithful have turned to “the Miraculous Myrrh-Streaming Icon of St. Anna.”

The image, commissioned in the 1990s to symbolize the mother of the Holy Virgin Mary, purportedly started to stream or “weep” myrrh while at a Philadelphia Russian Orthodox church on Mother’s Day 2004, according to the monastery that oversees it.

Since then, church officials say, countless visitors, including some in Metro Detroit, have reported remarkable developments after being anointed with the substance and seeking the saint’s intercessory prayer.

The legendary, otherworldly power is expected to draw scores of supporters to Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Detroit on Saturday.

“Many miracles have occurred from the anointing of this particular icon,” said the Very Rev. Lev Kopistiansky, longtime rector at Holy Trinity. “The healings that have occurred are varied, whether heart conditions, broken arms mended, tumors removed — all kinds of things have happened.”

On Saturday, the church — considered among the oldest Orthodox Christian parishes in the city — welcomes the icon, which is visiting from the Monastery of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk in Pennsylvania amid stops at other religious centers in the region.

In honor of the icon, Kopistiansky and Archimandrite Athanasy of the monastery are offering a prayer service and anointing of the faithful. A spiritual retreat themed “A Life of Virtue & Grace” also is planned afterward.

The event follows “The Pilgrimage of Mercy: the Tour of the Major Relics of St. Maria Goretti” last month, which allowed thousands of visitors at Metro Detroit churches to venerate the relics of the youngest saint ever canonized in the Catholic Church.

Holy Trinity has long had ties to the Pennsylvania monastery, where St. Anna’s likeness has resided since 2012. The icon previously visited the church in 2013 and during its centennial celebrations last month. “It’s becoming almost like a tradition,” Kopistiansky said.

Monastery officials claim the piece no longer “weeps” but continues to spark miraculous aid and healing.

The potential miracles lead many believers to venerate the icon.

“It’s appealing especially to people who are sick because there have been miraculous healings,” said David Adrian, a reader in the church and parish council member. “It’s nothing you can prove scientifically, but that’s what people say. And that’s what I’m sure a lot of people who attend would be hoping for.”

The icon is encased and adorned with tokens “as a reminder and thanksgiving of the prayers of the righteous Anna,” Kopistiansky said.

The allure attracted many to another icon visit Monday at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in Livonia. Some who flocked to the emotional, reverent service sought healing of various afflictions and struggles, said Mary Ann Dadich, a longtime Holy Trinity member from St. Clair Shores who attended.

“There is no one without a cross to bear,” she said. “So I think when people come, they want to turn that over to her — whatever they can’t help themselves anymore. They’re there to feel her presence and her healing ability.”


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