Howard Rosenberg

Icon of the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God

Icon of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos Among the many icons that exist in the Orthodox Church, the most important are the images of Jesus Christ and the Mother of God, because these are the initial symbols of Christianity. These icons, to which you will bring sincere and fervent prayers, can become miraculous, penetrate deep into the heart, and prompt you to think about spiritual values and the meaning of life. They should be with every believer, showing him the image of the Kingdom of Heaven, devoid of the shortcomings and sorrows of the earth, purifying the souls of those who pray to them. The images are imbued with inner, spiritual beauty, holiness, and belonging to God, which the master icon painters were able to convey. A large number of different icons dedicated to this or that event or location were created, but always, when going to buy an Orthodox icon, you should remember that we are not asking for help from the image, but from a higher power that acts through it, so believers honor icons, but do not worship them. More information on web.

Icon of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos: what does it help with?

The Virgin Mary prays not only for every person but also for nations and even states. Her mercy is continuous but extends only to those whose actions are imbued with kindness and nobility. She is condescending to weaknesses, therefore, having repented of the actions to which we are pushed by anger, condemnation, envy or irritation, every person has the right to hope for Her help. According to church covenants, veneration of the Blessed Virgin should be accompanied by doing good deeds, pleasing the Mother of God, aimed at helping and supporting one's neighbors, cleansing one's conscience, and spiritual reflection on one's life and its meaning. If you turn to Her only with your mind, without being preoccupied with feelings of reverence and admiration for the Lord's transformation, the prayer will be empty and formal.

Many cases of the appearance of the Mother of God to people who were healed after prayers at the icons and holy places specified by Her are known, which once again confirms Her mercy and condescension to humanity. And the icon of the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God is one of the most famous. For the first time, this image appears in art around the 13th century, in the paintings of churches and cathedrals in Suzdal, Novgorod, Eastern Galicia and Pskov. There are many variations of the image, made in the Orthodox icon painting manner or in the "Cossack" style, in the form of icons, frescoes, mosaics and paintings. But the history of this icon and the holiday associated with it is much older than the oldest surviving images.

The History of image creation

This icon is dedicated to the feast of the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God, which is celebrated on October 14. It traces its origin to a miracle that happened in the 10th century in Constantinople. This city was the capital of the Byzantine Empire - the heir of Rome and Greece, was located on the border of Asia and Europe, and was the largest of all the known settlements of that time. Starting from the 6th century, the "golden age" of the city ends - diseases and barbarian attacks (Russians and Arabs) threaten its existence. But Saracen (Muslim) troops became a real threat only in the 10th century, when the invasion of the Seljuk Turks began.

It was during this period that the described miracle happened. Tired of constant attacks, exhausting their supplies, the defenders of Constantinople, led by Emperor Leo the Wise, gathered in the Blacherna Temple to appeal to God for help. The Church of the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God has long been dedicated to the Virgin Mary - her incorruptible robes and headdress were kept there. And so, while keeping an all-night vigil, at four o'clock after midnight, Andrew Yurodivius and his disciple, known as Epiphanius, who are in the temple, saw the Mother of God walking in the air under the vault of the temple. Saints John the Theologian and John the Forerunner were walking next to her, and many other saints in white robes were walking in front and behind, singing in angelic voices.

Later, with the spread of Christianity, the holiday appeared in Russia. For the first time, he is mentioned in the annals of the reign of King Andrii Bogolyubsky, who built the temple of the same name in honor of his victory over the Tatars. The oldest surviving church dedicated to the icon of the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God is the Intercession Church-fortress in the village of Sutkivtsi (Khmelnytskyi region), built in 1467. In the history of Ukraine, this holiday is closely connected with the Cossacks, those who honor this day and the Virgin Mary herself as her heavenly intercessor, because the word "covering" means covering and intercession at the same time. On this day, Orthodox Christians turn to the Mother of God with requests for protection, healing and help.

The Virgin of Protection: the meaning of the icon

The icon depicting the apparition of the Mother of Jesus Christ shows Her apparition in the temple. She is depicted as an Oranta (with outstretched arms and open palms facing the viewer) or with an omophorus. Sometimes the composition is supplemented with the figures of Andrew the Fool, John the Forerunner and John the Theologian, other saints and angels who accompanied the apparition of the Mother of God. Figures of Roman Sladkopevets and bowing people can also be found on the pulpit of the church (in the lower third of the icon).

The meaning of the Icon of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos is Her attention and sensitivity to everyone who feels a need for her. This icon is designed to help us realize the great mercy of the Mother of God, which everywhere extends over the world a radiant sacred cover, overshadowing all who live with God's light. Although the vision of the outstretched omophorus has disappeared, but invisibly he continues to be over humanity, giving believers a sense of protection and grace. The Virgin Mary's love for people is undeniable, it helps to persevere in the most unfavorable circumstances, illnesses or difficulties. Therefore, believers who have added this image to their home iconostasis soon notice that a special sublime joy, quiet peace and confidence in support appear in their souls, because Her protection is invisible and continues to be with each of us.

What is prayed before the icon of the Protection of the Holy Mother of God

Like other similar images, this icon helps everyone who turns to it with a fervent and sincere prayer that comes from the heart, regardless of the content of the request.

They turn to it during an external threat, when the country is in danger from invaders. Such a tradition developed historically, because the event that led to the appearance of the icon was connected precisely with the request for the protection of the city. Believers went around fortifications with a list of icons - and help came, and enemy troops were defeated, even if their number exceeded the number of defenders. It is believed that such a procession spreads an invisible blanket over the area, preventing any invasion.

Also, praying before the image supports a person in overcoming internal temptations, because the veil of the Mother of God becomes a kind of spiritual shield that protects us from all kinds of temptations and comforting things. It saves a person's soul from dark forces that try to take possession of it, and prevents it from losing itself in worldly bustle.

Young girls traditionally pray in front of the icon for a quick marriage, because it is after the holiday that the season of weddings and soirées - gatherings of young people - begins. According to legend, on the day of this holiday (October 14) the first snow fell, and the folk saying compared the snow cover with a white wedding veil.

In addition, you can buy an icon of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos to ask Her for help in all kinds of affairs and undertakings. People who suffer from any physical illness can pray for healing, those who are in a position of financial need - for the acquisition of property. But its main purpose is to protect the soul of a believer, to show the right path and to protect from sadness, troubles, temptations and troubles.

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