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Our Lady of Miracles

Our Lady of Miracles constitutes one of Christianity’s most ancient and enduring set of Marian devotions, undergirded by copious reports of miraculous healing. With roots stretching back to early Byzantine-era Constantinople, the Virgin of Miracles arose as protector and wonder worker through her relics’ powers, a fame spreading globally over centuries thanks to stunning stories of intercession. 

The first sparks of devotion came with Saint Mary of the Mongols church in 5th century Constantinople, later renamed Theotokos Panachrantos – the All-Holy Mother of God. By the 7th century its relic treasury boasted the Virgin’s belt, part of her robe, and a quadrant featuring her miraculously-imprinted image. As tales of healing miracles abounded, the church became one of the city’s most important, with Muscovite rulers building their own replica Panachrantos in Russia filled with relics and wonderworking icons.  

After Crusaders sacked Constantinople in 1204, Panachrantos relics disappeared westward, likely among medieval treasuries of Cologne or Chartres. But the miraculous Panachrantos tradition carried forward in the East. By the 15th century, Moscow boasted over 270 icon variations on the Theotokos of Miracles theme housed in the city’s numerous churches. Through Eastern Orthodox faith, these images linking Mary and miraculous cure continue today.  

In the Catholic sphere, new anchors for the Virgin of Miracles devotion emerged via different pathways. In the Baroque era, Mexico City’s Virgin of Expectation painting sat enthroned in the Real Santuario church, then rebuilt after her purported 1675 image rescue from a flood and named for Nuestra Señora de los Milagros – Our Lady of Miracles. Stories of marvelous healing miracles ensured her fame across Spanish America over subsequent centuries.  

Through ever-growing reports of intercession against the odds, Our Lady of Miracles constitutes one of history’s most widespread and enduring Marian cults. Whether invoked as protectress of childbirth, healer of terminal maladies, or guardian on dangerous journeys, the global devotion offers powerful testament to the hope invested for centuries in the Virgin’s wondrous efficacy when traditional avenues offer little.

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