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The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver, Colorado: Icon of the Theotokos (Photos)

Reminiscent of the Great Hall at Ellis Island, through which many of our ancestors first entered this country, the Entrance Hall at The Metropolis Center now depicts the immigrant experience in America throughout the 20th century. Each of the eight outstanding immigration-story panels portrays a different facet of our ancestors’ progression, of their journey. Walking through the hall we can share their hopes and hardships, discover the struggles and successes of the founding members of the Community who left everything and brought their faith and families to a new world.

The murals are a tribute to the Greek forefathers and clergy who carved a way through adversity and assimilation to build a unique and important community. They are educational and portray an impressive overview of those individuals from Orthodox lands who settled in the central and south western plains and the mountain states.

The unique artistry of Pietro Palladini – a nationally known muralist truly inspired by the Greek Immigration Story – has precisely captured the historic record of events that helped to establish the American life in this part of the United States. It pays tribute to our forebears’ migration to America and the deeply embedded customs that held along the uncertain and unpredictable immigration path.

The iconography in the Metropolis Center chapel was completed in 2013 by Leonidas Diamantopoulos. The selection of icons and themes is unique and includes a magnificent Platytera Icon, as well as large, beautiful icons of the Ascension and the Second Coming.

The Metropolis Center opened in 2002 and is the administrative center of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver. The offices of Metropolitan Isaiah and his staff are located in this lovely space. Within the center is a beautiful chapel, where visitors come daily to pray, as well as a library and several meeting rooms, a missions office and guest rooms for traveling clergy.

In the chapel of the Metropolis there is a divine icon of the Theotokos, Joy of All Who Sorrow and Seeker of the Perishing, before which many faithful come to beseech the Most Holy Mother of God, the Ever Virgin Mary, to intercede with her Son and our God, Jesus Christ, for our health, safety, and salvation.

The beautiful icon in the chapel was painted over 200 years ago in Russia. It was taken from Russia during the Soviet era and sold in Germany, and was acquired by an art dealer in Houston, Texas during the 1990s. A pious Orthodox Christian who is member of the Metropolis, saw the icon and, recognizing its significance, purchased it for a considerable sum so that it might be restored to the Church and made accessible to the faithful. It arrived at the chapel in August 2006. On occasion, oil exudes from the right arm of the Theotokos.

The icon is of a type much-beloved by the Russian people. The title Seeker of the Perishing refers not only to those who are dying, but to those whose souls are in danger of spiritual death.

There are no reliable accounts of the origin of the Seeker of the Perishing icon type. There are, however, several historic wonder-working icons of this name, through which the Theotokos has shown mercy to people on the very brink of death.

In 1770 in the village of Malizhino in Kharkov governance, the faithful were delivered from cholera three times after praying before this icon to the Mother of God.

Another icon of this style was at the Alexandrov Orphanage Institute in Moscow where a church was consecrated in honor of the Seeker of the Perishing icon in 1835.

One notable Seeker of the Perishing icon was in the Church of the Glorious Resurrection in Moscow.

This icon had been transferred from the church of the Nativity of Christ to a house on Palashevska street. The owner had become widowed and was on the verge of complete poverty. Fervent prayer to the Most Holy Theotokos before the icon saved him from despair, and by God’s grace he was able to arrange matters for his daughters to wed.

Feeling that he was not worthy to have this wonder-working icon in his house, this man gave it to his local parish church. In 1812 the Palashevsk church was pillaged by the French, and the desecrated icon was later found in the rubble, broken into three pieces. Following its recovery, numerous miracles of healing took place and they continue to this day.

This icon was also known as the Tree and Hut Icon by the homeless and destitute, and it was beloved by Russians who suffered under serfdom.

Brides pray before the Seeker of the Perishing icon that their marriage might be a happy one. The afflicted come to it overwhelmed by alcoholism, perishing in poverty, and suffering from illness, praying before the icon as perishing children beseeching their Mother for deliverance. Parents pray before the icon to the Mother of God for the protection of their children, and especially for those who are seriously ill.

In these unprecedented times we are witnessing, where masks may cover our faces but cannot hide our tears, this Icon is a fountain of hope.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Metropolis Center remains closed until further notice.

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