Archive for February, 2011

The Merciful Mother of the Mentally Ill Icon


Merciful Mother of the Mentally Ill

Now this has a Roman Catholic source, but since it is an icon, surely Orthodox Christians can affirm the effort. Is it not a window into heaven, into the Divine love the Son of God has for all who have mental health issues, a love that His Most Holy Mother shares? We count her as a Champion Leader, leading the Saints in intercession for us before her Son, enthroned in Heaven at the right hand of the Father.

I am also posting a similar, more familiar Orthodox icon of the Most Holy Theotokos with our Lord Jesus Christ- the Life Giving Spring Icon– for consideration and comparison.

Life Giving Spring

Sources:  Merciful Mother of the Mentally Ill & Irenikon: Feast of the Life-giving Spring, Bright Friday

Orthodox Wiki: An Explanation of the Life-Giving Spring and the Icon

Theotokos of the Life-Giving Spring: Scroll down for a gallery of icons

O Lady graced by God,
you reward me by letting gush forth, beyond reason,
the ever-flowing waters of your grace from your perpetual Spring.
I entreat you, who bore the Logos, in a manner beyond comprehension,
to refresh me in your grace that I may cry out,
“Hail redemptive waters.”
Icon of the Merciful Mother of the Mentally Ill is originally derived from the

Guild of St. Benedict Joseph Labre



From the OCA: Saints in Times of Trouble

St. Barbara

St. Cuthbert


This is a workbook entitled

 Saints in Times of Trouble: An Activity Book for Orthodox Children and Parents,

published by the

Department of Christian Education, Orthodox Church in America, in 2008:

Among the Saints who are profiled, St. Barbara cared for people in need, including persons with disability, and St. Cuthbert experienced disability himself. Because of these experiences in their holy lives, persons with disabilities might do well to seek out these Saints for their intercessions.

St Barbara, who was a cell attendent to St. Elizabeth in Russia in the early twentieth century, assisted St. Elizabeth in many other charitable ministries. They “set up homes for those who were disabled.” Eventually she was arrested. She could have gone free, but she chose to stay with St. Elizabeth. They were martyred together in 1918. Her story can be found on pages 26-32.

St. Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindesfarne, †687, was once disabled himself, but an angel cured him. Later, many were cured by the Lord through him. His story is found on pages 33-39.

The stories include a icon picture, their stories web references, a troparian and a kontakion in their honor, journal prompts, a map of their travels, a merge search for St. Barbara, a fallen phrase for St. Cuthbert,  and word puzzles.

And there are ten other Saints that are profiled who knew times of trouble, and can intercede for us when we are in times of trouble ourselves.

This is a resource for young people of all ages.

St. Cuthbert’s Icon from

Photo of St. Barbara from 

Two Coptic Orthodox Church Ministries: Bless USA & theCheerful Heart Center

His Grace Bishop Botros with a child from CHC

  • a Center for persons with developmental disabilites in Egypt, providing food and shelter, education, socialization and rehabilitation. 
  • a US non-profit charity organization which provides support to their brethren in Egypt.

To discover Bless USA’s ministry to persons with disabilities, click on What We Do > Programs > Healthcare

To access:

The Cheerful Heart Center 

Bless USA 

Moldova: Hope and Health Association

Their goal is to lend support to families and caregivers of young adults who are mentally challenged, and to see to the teaching of daily living and vocational skills of these young adults.

Here is their new website: 

Orthodox Health Care Proxy and Funeral Directive

It is very important that every Orthodox Christian have instructions available for their health care in the event of their inability to make decisions for themselves in time of serious illness. It is also important that funeral instructions be provided. . . .

available here:

The Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer DVD


I am greatly looking forward to seeing this film; we will be getting a glimpse of the most sublime and holy places and people in the Orthodox Christian world. We will taste their quest to become partakers of the divine nature, which is a genuine sharing in divine life through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus came and shares in our humanity; he suffered, died, and rose again, and always lives to intercede for us, that we may partake, as adopted sons of God, in His divine life. Having been made in His image, when we seek Him with all our hearts with persistent prayer we become restored to real divine likeness.

Father Teofil, blind from birth, briefly and powerfully explains this:

† Father Teofil Paraian, March 3, 1929 – October 29, 2009.

And I still believe that the practice of the  Jesus Prayer, which has been revealed as a a greatly transformative path that God has blessed many to follow,  is one accessible to people with developmental disabilities. This should be explored in practice.

See also


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