Russian Icon of the Mother of God “The Unfading Flower”
In our previous blog posts, we wrote about many Orthodox icons of the Mother of God. Each of them is unique and important, and not only from a religious point of view. Since an Orthodox icon is also a piece of art, any of them represents a real masterpiece that can easily become a gem of the art collection. This is especially true for the Russian icon of the Mother of God known as “The Unfading Flower” or “The Unfading Color.” Moreover, its feast day is celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox Church today, on April 16, so it’s just a perfect time to tell you more about this beautiful Russian icon.
Russian icon of the Mother of God “The Unfading Flower”
The Russian icon of the Mother of God “The Unfading Flower” is known since the end of the 17th century. One of the most important early examples of this Orthodox icon was kept in the Moscow’s Alekseevsky Female Monastery in the 18th century, where it was venerated as miracle-working. Unfortunately, this antique Russian icon of the Mother of God has not survived until our days, though its copies can be found worldwide.
Just like most other Orthodox icons of the Mother of God, “The Unfading Flower” type of Marian icons varies in detail. However, most of them depict the Virgin Mary with Christ Child, both crowned and regally dressed. The Mother of God is holding a flowering branch, often a blooming rose stalk or lilies, or a wand decorated with many flowers as a symbol of spiritual power. Christ Child, in His turn, is usually shown with an orb of a king and a scepter in His hands, which are the clear signs of royal power. Besides, there are also variations of the Russian icon of the Mother of God “The Unfading Flower” that depict Archangels Michael and Gabriel, and sometimes St. Kharalampios, St. John the Forerunner, or other saints.
Many Orthodox icons of the Mother of God “The Unfading Flower,” including the Russian icon at the top of this post, are additionally decorated with flowers in the form of a garland framing the icon. Flowers can also be depicted in various baskets and vases placed in the background. Such an abundance of flowers in Orthodox icons of this type is a symbol of purity and integrity, so it is no wonder that this amazing Russian icon is used by Christian believers when praying for love, family happiness, peace, and healing.