Holy Icons of the Iviron Mother of God
The Iviron Mother of God, or the Panagia Portaitissa, is one of the most famous Christian icons of the Virgin Mary, known for its history of origin and the miracles attributed to this image. Holy icons of this type can be found in churches and monasteries around the world, including Moscow, Paris, Montreal, and Hawaii. However, these all are copies of the original miraculous icon of the Mother of God, which is preserved in the Iviron Monastery on Mount Athos, Greece.
The origin of the Iviron icon of the Mother of God
On February 25, Orthodox believers recall the incredible history of the image of the Iviron Mother of God and offer sincere prayers in front of this icon. According to the church tradition, the original icon was painted by the apostle Luke himself while the Virgin Mary was still alive.
There are many stories and legends about the origin of the sacred image, but the most famous is the legend from the times of the iconoclast period. The icon of the Theotokos, which is now known as the Iviron Mother of God, was owned by a righteous woman from Nicaea. To save it from the iconoclasts, she placed the icon in the sea. Two centuries later, the monks of the Georgian Iviron monastery on Mount Athos saw the icon supported by a column of fire in the sea. The holy image was recovered from the water and since then has been preserved in the monastery as its major shrine.
Holy icons of the Iviron Mother of God
Holy icons of the Iviron Mother of God belong to the Hodegetria type. These icons depict the Mother of God with the Christ Child. The Virgin’s head is tilted toward the Divine Child sitting on her left hand. Christ sits half-turn, holding a scroll in His one hand and stretching out the other toward the Mother of God, making a gesture of blessing. The image is expressively painted, the facial features are large and massive, and the gazes of the Mother of God and the Child are turned to each other.
Holy icons of the Iviron Mother of God have one distinctive feature that is the wound on the face of the Theotokos. According to the legend, many years ago, an iconoclast pierced the icon with a spear, and real blood poured out of it. This detail has since become traditional for the iconography of this type.
Many Christians around the world pray in front of the icons of the Iviron Mother of God, asking to heal their mental and physical ailments. They believe that the Most Holy Virgin will hear them and help everyone.