Part II – The Meaning of the Icon

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“Meaning of the icon of our mother of perpetual help as we look at the the icon of our mother. Perpetual help. It is important to remember that it is icon painted on wood by an enormous artist in the style of the virgin of the passion that represents the christian mystery of redemption. I have been using the word icon yes for that is what it is what is an icon.

The word icon comes from the greek meaning image. Christians. First used the word icon to describe jesus who was the image of the invisible god then they used the word for all christians who through baptism were formed in the image of christ as icons of god and temples of the holy spirit. When we speak of an icon as a piece of art.

We mean a representation of christ or of the blessed virgin or of a saint that has been painted according to specific technical and theological norms. There are three things to remember about icons first icons are more than a simple representation of events or of persons of the past an icon makes present that which it remembers an icon is a meeting point between the mystery of god and the reality of human beings. An icon is not a decoration for the altar. It is in fact the actual altar therefore in the eastern church icons are venerated along with the bible secondly icons are the result of prayer.

The artist that paints an icon composes..


The painting in an atmosphere of penance and prayer. They spend hours praying meditating on the mystery of god and present that mystery in images and colors. They share their faith their spiritual insights their prayer. With others through art thirdly.

An icon is an object of meditation. When we come before an icon. We come with an attitude of prayer. We deepen our understanding of the mysterious reality that it represents and we better appreciate the value of prayer icons were created to foster prayer and contemplation the most famous and central icon in the eastern church is the one that affirms the motherhood of mary mary.

Mother of god. The theotokos that is the greek word is the central marian affirmation of the eastern church. The word in greek means theos means god takos means bearer. So theotokos means mother or bearer of god to a much greater extent than the west.

The east celebrates the glory of the theotokos..


The mother of god in the liturgy often with her full title namely our all holy immaculate. Most blessed and glorified lady mother of god and ever virgin mary at the heart of eastern spirituality is the glory of the incarnation with its concern that divine life might erupt into our world. So. The preface for christmas liturgy reads in him.

We see our god made visible and so are caught up in the love of a god we cannot see in the eastern tradition of icons mary appears in the privileged place on the econostasis that is the screen in front of the altar in an eastern church. That depicts on the screen christ the angels. The patriarchs and saints mary stands at the heart of the communion of saints and the most famous icons are those of the theotokos mother of god where mary holds her son and the son is at the level of her womb seated in a position of grace blessing the faithful the second type of mary and icon is called the daisies icon. Where she raises our hands in intercession mary is depicted either alone or with a saint her eyes raised to heaven and her hands raised in prayer.

And intercession. This is a primary role as the queen of saints to pray for all the faithful. The third type of icon is the hodegatria icon namely pointing the way where she points to her son jesus generally in this icon. Mary holds.

Her son jesus in her arms..


And her hand points to him as the way the truth and the life. He is the hodos which means the way and she points to him the way to eternal life. This is her role as constantly pointing to her son jesus do whatever he tells you the fourth type of icon is the elusa icon or the mother of tenderness. But mary s eyes look forward to the passion while holding the child to her cheeks the son looks to his mother and generally has his cheek touching his mother s cheek.

And she looks at him with great tenderness offering him the tenderness that only a mother can offer now we come to our icon of our mother of perpetual help we realize that it is naturally a combination of the theotokos mother of god and the hodigetriya pointing to the way mary as the mother of the incarnate one jesus the son of god points. The believers and all people to her son who is the way the truth and the life therefore take a look at the picture in your home of our mother. Perpetual help notice her hand her palm her fingers pointing directly to her son. And so we come to her with this awareness that she is leading us to the mystery of redemption of salvation of god saving us.

That is the mystery being represented in our icon of our mother. A perpetual help god saves us redeems us in jesus the way. The truth and the life and mary points. Us to him.

He is the way to the father..


He is the truth about the father. He is the life of the father. I invite you to gaze for a few moments at the picture of the icon of our mother. Perpetual help in your home look into the eyes of mary.

She is mother of god and she points. You her hand guides you to look at her son jesus. Who is the way the truth and the life. We pray pray for us o holy mother of god that we may be worthy of the promises of christ.

Our mother will prepare to help pray for us. ” ..

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