Virgin Mary Proanagelomeni - Holy Monastery Zografou
During the period of the false union of the Council of Lyons under th pro-Latin Michael VIII Palaeologus and the Patriarch Ioannes Beccus, in the 13th century, Latin clerics accompanied by soldiers invaded the Holy Mountain, that stronghold of Orthodoxy, to impose by force union with the Western Church. The Zografou Monastery had the honour to produce in this struggle against error the 26 Martyrs of Zographou. At that time, there was a saintly elder living the ascetic life near the Monastery whose habit it was to recite the Akathistos Hymn many times a day before the icon of the Theotokos.
One day he heard the Blessed Virgin speaking to him and warning him (which is the meaning of the name “Proangellomeni”) that the supporters of the Latins were approaching and that those were weak in spirit should hide, while those who desired the crown of martydom should remain in the Monastery. The Elder, as he hastened to pass on the news to the brethen, found that the same icon which had spoken to him in his kelli had miracukously been placed over the gates of the Monastery. He reverenced it, took it, and showing it to the Abbot and brethren, told them of the miracle. Many went into hiding, but the Abbot and 25 of monks shut themselves up in the tower, which was destroyed, on 10 October 1274. The miraculous icon of the Virgin which they had with them was found unharmed in the ruins of the tower and was placed on sanctuary screen of the Chapel of the Dormition of the Theotokos, where, though painted over, it still is today. The Bulgarians monks of Zografou called it “Chairovo”, that is, “Our Lady of the Hail”, and in the Liturgies in the chapel, the Salutations are read instead of a communicate hymn.