A icon made in the traditions of the Holy Mt. Athos is rich in ornamentation. Its obverse shows an ancient icon of the Mother of God “It is truly meet”, the reverse showing the Archangel Gabriel who has been the first to sing before it one of the basic, the most revered, and generally used deiparous psalms: “Meet it is in truth, to glorify Thee, O Birth-giver of God, ever blessed, and all-undefiled, the Mother of our God. More honourable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, Thou who without stain didst bear God the word, True Birthgiver of God, we magnify Thee”. The first phrase of this psalm is written on the small icon obverse roundabout Her image.
During the service when “Meet it is in truth” is being sang the priest is offering up a secret prayer both for the quick and the dead Christians. He asks God to send down good for the former for their Christian way of life; and everlasting rest for the latter.
The icon of the Mother of God is at the Holy Mt. Athos. Of yore monks live there not only in cloisters, but in numerous secluded cells straggling all over the Holy Mount. Once a palmer entered a cell of such a monk who retreated for praying. The monk was just saying the All-Night Vigil and invited the guest to join him. When the host started singing the old psalm to the Mother of God “More honourable than the Cherubim”, the palmer said: “But we magnify the Mother of God in another way. We first sing “Meet it is in truth”, and then add “More honourable than the Cherubim”. Turning to the icon called “It is truly meet” the guest started singing a new psalm unheard-of hitherto. While he sang the icon shined Heavenly light, the monk burst out crying for tenderness. He asked the guest to write the marvelous son down for him to glorify the Queen of Heaven in the same way. But there was neither pen nor paper in his cell – the monks barred from having anything of the kind by the consuetudinary. And then the mysterious guest went out and wrote the words right on a stone beside the cell. He traced out each letter, the stone softening under his hand. “Who are you?” – The dumbfounded monk asked. “Gabriel” – answered the night guest and disappeared. The monk understood that it was the Archangel Gabriel who visited him, the messenger of God, one of seven chief Angels who “bring the prayers of the saints and сome before the glory of the Saint (Tob. 12, 15).
“Gabriel” means “God’s power” in Hebraic. The Archangel Gabriel is mentioned in Scripture several times as Heavenly messenger whom God sends to people for announcing His plans of saving the human race. So, the Archangel Gabriel appeared before the Prophet Daniel and revealed the mystery of the Messiah advent, Antichrist’s persecutions and the end of the world (Dan. 8, 16, 9-21). Before coming of the Son of God to the world the Archangel Gabriel appeared before the Elder Zachary in the Temple, and heralded the miraculous the Conception of the Forerunner. Six months after he came to the Virgin Mary in Nazareth with annunciation that She would be the Mother of Christ the Savior (Luke 1).
After such a wonder the Icon of the Mother of God “It is truly meet” was taken to the cathedral of Karyes, administrative center of the “monastic republic” at the Mt. Athos. It became one of the most important icons of the Mother of God, and is invoked for absolution (including mortal sins) and for healing bodily and mental diseases following those sins. The stone with the song inscribed by Archangel Gabriel was taken to Constantinople in the 10th century. Numerous copies of the icon are hold sacred in Russian churches too. Observance is on June 11 (24) and on July 13 (26).