The Third “Feast of the Saviour” in August
While the Lord was preaching in Palestine, his fame reached a king Avgar of Edessa, who suffered from leprosy.
Avgar sent a messenger named Ananias to ask whether the Lord could heal his illness.
The king also charged Ananias, if he was unable to bring back Jesus Himself, to bring back a likeness of Him. When Ananias found Jesus, the Lord told him that he could not come to Edessa since the time of His passion was at hand. But he took a cloth and washed His face, miraculously leaving a perfect image of His face on the cloth. Ananias brought the holy image back to the king, who reverently kissed it. Immediately his leprosy was healed, save for a small lesion that remained on his forehead.
Later the Apostle Thaddeus came to Edessa, preaching the gospel, and Avgar and his household were baptized, at which time his remaining leprosy vanished. The king had the holy likeness mounted on wood and displayed above the city gate for all to revere.
But Avgar’s grandson returned to idolatry, and the Bishop of Edessa had the image hidden in the city wall to prevent it from being defiled. Many years later, when the Persian king Chosroes besieged Edessa, the Bishop Eulabius was told in a vision to find the sealed chamber, whose location had been forgotten.
The holy icon was found, completely incorrupt, and by its power the Persian army was driven off. In the year 944 the image was brought to Constantinople and enshrined in the Church of the Theotokos called the Pharos.
This is the event commemorated today