Read the story of the Icon here
The Transfer from Edessa to Constantinople of the Icon of our Lord Jesus Christ Not-Made-by-Hands occurred in the year 944.
Liturgical Hymns in Honor of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from the Menaion
Translations copyright by Br. Isaac E. Lambertsen, drawn from the Menaion of the Orthodox Church, in 12 volumes (in English), published by the St. John of Kronstadt Press, 1180 Orthodox Way, Liberty TN 37095; www.sjkp.org. Authorized only for private devotional purposes. Further distribution, reproduction, or incorporation into other documents is prohibited without prior permission from the publisher. All rights reserved.
On the renowned day of our festival, O ye people, let us open our mouths and cleanse our tongues, radiantly glorifying the revelation of the divine image of Christ our God.
Fulfilling the words of the Father, the pre-eternal Light before becameth visible to men in the image and likeness of the flesh; and now He hath revealed Himself in the image not made by the hands of man, shining forth upon us the light of His divine incarnation.
Desiring to speak forth His grace, the Most High assumed the image of a servant and, as an assurance of His human nature, hath given the faithful the likeness of His countenance today.
As Master in essence, Thou didst unite Thyself to Thy servants through the flesh; and working out and planning our salvation in divers ways, O Christ, Thou art seen by us in Thine image.
The most honorable city of Edessa hath for its faith received Thine honorable and divine image as a firm pledge; and Thine imperial city now receiveth it as the best of gifts.
As hypostatic Life Thou hast now tasted of the death of the flesh, whereby Thou hast poured forth life upon the dead by Thy rising, O Christ. And now Thou hast given us the image of Thy countenance as a conduit of life.
The divine image of the likeness of the flesh of Him Who drew nigh to men in the flesh hath today come to the newly-chosen Israel as from Egypt, and enlighteneth the ends of the earth.
Moses, asking, was vouchsafed of old to behold obscurely a divine vision of the glory of Thy back parts; and the new Israel now clearly beholdeth Thee, the Deliverer, face to face.
O all ye people, behold ye wondrous things and be merry now in spirit, hymning Christ Who hath given us the depiction of His countenance as riches of great value.
Let us clap our hands today and cry out praises to the Lord; for, lo! He hath truly come and revealed Himself, illumining all the faithful with the divine likeness of His pure flesh.
Today hath the assembly of the Orthodox been enlightened. Let the horde of the heretics be put to shame, seeing the image fashioned not by men's hands venerated, which hath been set forth for us by the flesh of the Deliverer.
The coming solemnity is a great mystery; for the light of the Lord's countenance hath shone forth upon the world through the precisely limned image and the divine letters written by the hand of God Himself, whereby Abgar of old was strengthened.
Life hath shone forth upon the dead, light hath come for the blind, healing hath been disclosed for them that are grievously afflicted, and salvation hath drawn nigh for all today.
Every mind is bewildered, seeing the divine image of the immaterial countenance of Christ now clearly limned, pouring forth enlightenment upon them that venerate it.
Let us prepare the way of Christ, crying out now to Christ: Hosanna! Blessed is the name of the glory of God, which hath in His divine image been revealed to those on earth!
Thou didst not disdain to suffer with men, who are held fast by evil and have fallen into corruption, O Creator and Restorer of our race; but, emptying Thyself, O Most High, and showing Thyself to be in my likeness and lowliness, Thou hast most wisely built me up, giving me man's primeval beauty.
When I believed not in Thy heavenly kingdom, to which, O Good One, Thou hast brought us up who are corrupt and lie below, Thou Who art inaccessible to the immaterial cherubim didst bring me down to Hades; and to King Abgar Thou didst send Thine apostle, who confirmed the mystery, O Christ.
O Word and Wisdom of God the omnipotent Father, Who from before the ages hath been ever continually invisible, the local ruler, beholding the image of Thine all-human countenance, marveled, beholding Thee, God Who assumed flesh, blood and a noetic soul.
Every city rejoiceth with faith, celebrating with the new Sion; for its King hath meekly come, not on a foal as before, but in His image, saving them that chant with faith: Blessed art Thou, O God!
The divine words of the incorporeal ones, who heard the voice of the Lord before, have been fulfilled; and we, illumined by the light-giving splendors of His appearance, have now seen His visage.
Those of heaven make merry with those of earth, and the multitude of all the saints rejoice together; kings and princes, rich and poor, celebrate the divine image which hath appeared today.
Being perfect in essence, the God-man becameth visible, truly saving in perfect manner according to both His natures; for as God, confirming the image of man, He transformed it as One Incorporeal, and gaveth it to us as a rampart and protection.
O Word of God, exalt Thou the horn of them that confess Thee to be God and man, and who bow low before Thy divinely imprinted image, whereby everlasting life hath been given to all the faithful; and set at naught the arrogance of the pagans who know not Thy divine power.
The new Church shineth, for the light of glory hath shone forth the image of the corporeal aspect of our God; and, as He Himself knoweth, He hath adorned His incorporeal countenance, illumining it for the salvation of the Christian people.
Rejoice now mystically, O great Christ-loving city of God, for to thee hath come He Who reigneth over all in the likeness of His divine prototypical visage; and thee hath He deigned to choose as His dwelling place.
Let us chant a hymn of thanks unto God, Who was pleased to give us great riches, an unassailable rampart, and a firm foundation: the divinely formed countenance of His godly flesh, which honoring, we, the faithful, magnify.
O the wonders which pass understanding, which Thou hast wrought upon us that hope on Thee! For as Thy birth was ineffable, so also hast Thou shown forth the depiction of Thy countenance, which is strange and incomprehensible to all. From all wrath deliver us that honor it.