Orthodox Iconography of the Intercession of the Theotokos
On October 14, the Christian Сhurch celebrates the great Feast of the Intercession of the Theotokos. In the history of Ukraine, it is also associated with the Cossacks, who honored the Virgin Mary as their patroness and intercessor. The Orthodox iconography of the Intercession is one of the most important and beloved since Our Lady acts as the protector of all mankind, who gives grace and mercy to the faithful. There are many icons of the Intercession of the Theotokos, but all of them have common characteristics. In this blog post, we reveal these features, as well as tell a brief history of the feast.
About the feast of the Intercession of the Theotokos
Under one version, the holiday appeared from an event that occurred during the reign of the Kyiv prince Askold. When his army sieged Constantinople, the Orthodox inhabitants of the city began to pray, asking the Mother of God for salvation. According to the legend, the Virgin indeed appeared to people on that day and covered them with her veil, i.e. omophorion, and thus saved them from death. According to tradition, Askold, together with his soldiers, was later baptized and became a Christian.
About the Orthodox iconography of the feast
As mentioned earlier, the Orthodox iconography of the feast of the Intercession of the Theotokos is quite diverse. Orthodox icons depict the Mother of God standing over the people. She is surrounded by a luminous halo. Her arms are spread out in prayer and covered by a veil. Many apostles, saints (such as John the Baptist), and angels can be seen on the sides, with St. Andrew and his disciple Epiphanius below. The former is dressed in a cloak, while the latter is clothed in a tunic. Sometimes, the icon of the Intercession of the Theotokos depicts St. Romanos the Melodist, a famous hymnographer whose feast is also celebrated on October 14. He is dressed as a deacon and holds an open scroll.
Prayer with the icons of the feast
The Orthodox iconography of the feast is filled with spiritual beauty and holiness. Believers note that the Mother of God prays not only for the well-being of one person but also for entire peoples and nations. While praying with festive icons, one can ask Our Lady to protect, intercede for someone, or heal the soul and body.
The icons of the Intercession of the Theotokos are highly revered by Orthodox believers around the world.