Theotokos "Trixerousa" icon

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Orthodox icon of Theotokos "Trixerousa", "With three Hands".

This is the icon which St John of Damascus had recourse and prayed, with his just complaint, holding his severed right hand, with which he had written in favour of the holy icons and which had been cut off by the malice of the Eikonomachi. The Theotokos wrought the miracle of re-attaching the dead hand of her servant and bringing it to life again, while he dedicated to her a silver votive offering in the shape of a hand, which is placed in such a way on the icon that it appears that she has a third hand.

The icon, which until the 12th century was kept at the Lavra of St Sabbas, was given to St Sabbas, Archibishop of Serbia, and founder of the Monastery of Chilandari, during a visit to the Holy Land. He took it to Serbia, whence it was brought in a miraculous manner to the Holy Mountain when during the civil strife in Serbia in the reign of King Urosh V the mule whivh always carried the icon before the army was lost and, following a rute of its own, arrived at Chilandari.

At a later date, when there was quarreling among the brotherhood of the Monastery of Chilandari about the election of an Abbot, the Tricherousa moved miraculously from the sanctuary, where it had been up till then, to the Abbot's stall. A saintly hermit monk then told the brotherhood that from then on, in order to avoid quarrelling, no Abbot should be elected at Chilandari, since the Theotokos would occupy the position herself and govern the Monastery. And it is a fact that though the Chilandari brotherhood is a coenobium, it has no Abbot and is administreted in accordance with the system of idiorrhythmic monasteries.