On Friday, March 21, the Icon of the Mother of God "Softener of Evil Hearts" arrived in the Eastern American Diocese. At JFK Airport, the Icon and its guardian, Sergey Fomin, were greeted by Eastern American Diocesan secretary Archpriest Serge Lukianov. The first church the holy Icon visited was Holy New Martyrs & Confessors of Russia Church in Brooklyn, NY. The moleben and reading of the akathist to the Mother of God "Softener of Evil Hearts" was led by Fr. Serge ‒ who also serves as that parish’s rector ‒ co-served by clergy from the parish and New York Deanery.
The Icon, printed in Sofrino (Russian), began streaming myrrh in 1998, on the same day that it was placed on the relics of the newly glorified Blessed Matrona of Moscow. Since that time, the Icon has traveled around the world, comforting those in sorrows, healing the infirm, helping those imploring forgiveness, mercy, and aid from Christ the Savior and His Most Pure Mother. This is not the Icon’s first visit to America.
Upon completion of the akathist, Fr. Serge addressed the many faithful who had gathered in the church, reminding them that this holy image teaches us, first and foremost, not to harbor animosity in our hearts: "This is hard for us: people offend us, and we offend them. We hold on to wrath in our hearts and cannot forgive our brother or sister. The Heavenly Queen says to each of us: if you want the Lord to forgive you, then you must forgive your own neighbor. This is not easy: we must swallow our pride, humble ourselves; but the Lord forgives us through humility, and by humility do we hope to attain the Heavenly Kingdom."
The Icon’s guardian, Sergey Fomin, made it known that, as a rule, the Icon streams very little myrrh or even none at all during the days of Great Lent. This year is an exception: the glass protecting the holy image was completely covered in fragrant droplets. This is only the second time this has taken place since the Icon began streaming myrrh.
Late that evening, the Icon departed from Brooklyn for Holy Virgin Intercession Church in Glen Cove, NY. From New York, the Icon will fly to Florida, and from there will visit parishes and monasteries in Georgia, West Virginia, and Ohio. On the great feast of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos, the faithful can pray before and venerate the myrrh-streaming Icon "Softener of Evil Hearts" at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC, while on Christ’s Glorious Resurrection this year, the Icon will be making its third visit to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY.
Brooklyn, NY: "Softener of Evil Hearts" Icon of Mother of God begins Visit to Eastern American Diocese - 03/21/14