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The Hermit, the Icon, and the Emperor:
The Holy Virgin Comes to Cyprus
by Chrissi Hart
illustrated by Niko Chocheli

The Hermit, the Icon, and the Emperor: The Holy Virgin Comes to Cyprus by Chrissi Hart illustrated by Niko Chocheli
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Kykkou, Kykkou, Kykkos’ hill
A monastery the site shall fill
A golden lady shall enter in
And never shall come out again.”


Long ago on the island of Cyprus, a cuckoo sang this prophetic song that started a series of mysterious adventures. A hermit had a vision, a proud and selfish governor was stricken with paralysis, and a princess lay dying.

All these events, including the miraculous healings of the governor and the princess, were part of a plan—God’s plan—to bring the very first icon of the Mother of God, painted by the Evangelist Luke himself, from the emperor’s palace in Constantinople to a new home on the island of Cyprus.

The richly detailed, jewel-toned illustrations by acclaimed fine artist Niko Chocheli, and the engaging text bring this true story to life for contemporary readers of all ages.

The story of the icon of Kykkos has been retold many times over the centuries, and shaped to serve many different aims and ideals. In this visually captivating book, its story is told in a way that will enchant children. Opening a world of splendor and heartfelt feeling to them that will surely arouse their curiosity about Byzantium, the book prompts them at the same time to ponder the deep design that underlies the dramas and traumas of the characters, drawing them together with the icon into a luminous web of divine intention.”

— Annemarie Weyl Carr,
Professor of Art History Emerita at Southern Methodist University
and an expert on the icon of the Mother of God at Kykkos Monastery in Cyprus

With elegance, but in words that a child can easily understand, Chrissi Hart tells the compelling story of how the Eleousa Icon came to Cyprus. In addition to the history of such an important icon, there are many spiritual lessons to learn here—the consequences of sin; the beauty of repentance; humility and forgiveness as shown by the Hermit Isaiah; and over all, the love and care of God and the Theotokos for the Church. As always, Niko Chocheli’s illustrations are stunningly beautiful. I am looking forward to more of Chrissi’s stories.”

— Mother Melania, author of the
Old Testament Stories for Children Series and
The Twelve Great Feasts for Children books

Book Details

  • Publisher: Conciliar Press; First edition (November 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1888212497
  • ISBN-13: 9781888212495
  • Language: English
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
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