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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Our Lady of the Wind ( icon )

Our Lady of the Wind
Patron of the Church of Our Lady of the Wind, Enfeh al-Koura

The nuns of Our Lady of Kaftoun painted this icon in December 2001, at the request of the parish of Enfeh, Lebabon and after having shown preliminary designs to fathers and theologians who gave their blessing. It is an offering from Michel Faiz Touma, for his parents the reposed Faiz and Nejmeh. It measures 90cm by 60cm and it was consecrated by Fr. Zakhour Nimeh, the parish priest of blessed memory. The feast of Our Lady of the Wind is the Feast of the Annunciation, where it takes the place of the icon of the Annunciation, and below it most of the image is the sea and fish (the Feast of the Annunciation is connected to permission to eat fish despite the fast).

An explanation of the icon “O Virgin, calm the tumult of our passions and quiet the storm of our sins…” (from the Paraklisis to the Theotokos).

This is the message of the icon of the Theotokos, Our Lady of the Wind and what is written underneath it. She is lifting up the prayers of the faithful who are drowning in the sea of sorrows and the tempest of temptations to the Lord Jesus who is always present and watching from heaven, which is represented by the sky-blue circles amidst the golden background. He blesses with both His hands in response to the intercession of His mother the sailors who struggle amidst the waves that toss about the fishing boat (and the boat is a symbol of the Church). He leads them to the shore, the place “below the wind” north of Ras Qal’at Enfeh where the church of Our Lady stands. 

They seek refuge under her serene protection, far from the storms and whirlwinds coming from the sea (a symbol of death and the world of darkness where the dragon plays (the psalm of vespers). The whirlpool which appears along our coasts in the winter is still called “the dragon” by local fishermen and this is reflected in the icon by depicting the storm in this form), from the southwest across from the cliff, but the Theotokos Our Lady of the Wind is standing next to her church, lifting up her left hand in supplication to her divine Son to preserve her children, while with her right hand she repels from them the storm coming from afar.

The icon goes from nature to the site of the church of Our Lady where the bay “below the wind”, which during most of the days of the year is protected from the southwesterly winds which cause storms and batter the cliff. The icon goes from the calm bay which forms a natural harbor for fishermen to the spiritual reality where Our Lady takes those who seek her intercession under her protection.

In the details, the waves appear as a spiral of the colors of the sea and the sky, and this is in imitation of the style of the extant mural icons in the church of Our Lady of the Wind, which probably go back to the twelfth century. They reflect the ambiance of the local sea and among them are fish, so often mentioned in the tradition of the Church.

Likewise palm trees, which decorate the coastline since Phoenician times, are mystically connected to the Virgin (in the Song of Songs and the Akathist) surround the church.
She is the Virgin Lady, the Theotokos who is honored by the faithful in the village and the surrounding region. And here are the ancient churches forming a ring around her church: from the right St. Simeon, St. Michael, and St. Katrina and from the left St. George and the Monastery of St. John the Baptist. 
Likewise she is surrounded by her monasteries: Deir al-Nouriyyeh drawn at the top of the cliff in the background along with the site of the ancient monastery in the middle of the mountain where Abd al-Masih al-Enfawi practiced asceticism and from which the light of the Virgin shined forth, according to the tradition of the monastery’s name. 

At the end of the peak is the church of St. Simeon the Stylite. As for the monasteries and shrines to Our Lady in the region for which there was not room to draw in the icon, they are present in a hidden way, and to complete the list they are: 
Our Lady of the Seas in Batroun, the Horshiyyeh Cave in Hamat, the shrine of al-Rihaniyyeh in Hari, al-Za’tariyyeh in Shaka, al-Zurou’ in Kfarhazim, Sayyidat Fi’, Our Lady of the Spring (al-Na’oura), Sayyidat al-Bazizat (the Nursing), Sayyidat al-Qutrubiyyeh in Enfeh, Sayyidat al-Khazaib in al-Harisha, the Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand, and Deir Sayyidat Natour, where the perspective of one looking at the icon stands.

She is the Virgin who herself saves through her intercessions all those sailing through the storms and waves on the sea of life.
She is the Lady of all places—land, sea, and air and is constantly present and protecting all who honor her. Through her intercessions, O Lord, have mercy on us and save us, amen.


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