The Holy Theotokos
"On the Iconostasis"

 

 

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The Holy Virgin Mary holds the highest place amongst the Saints in the church since, through her, the Divine Plan was fulfilled. At the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, the Fathers reaffirmed her to be the Theotokos (God-bearer). One of the Church Fathers testified to her place in the Divine Economy of salvation through this hymn: "All creation rejoices in you, O full of grace: the assembly of angels and the human race. O Sanctified Temple and Spiritual Paradise, glory of virgins, from whom God was incarnate and become a Child, our God Who is before the ages! He made your body into a throne and your womb He made more spacious than the heavens. All creation rejoices in you! O full of grace, glory to you."

The Old Testament foreshadows her prominence in the New Testament through specific prophetic images. Among other symbols, she is symbolized as "the temple" for she is the dwelling-place of God and "the door" through which God entered our world. In keeping with these prophetic types, this icon is situated on the right side of the Enthroned Christ upon the icon screen, as the Psalmist indicates: "At Thy right hand stood the queen" (Ps. 44:9).

According to ecclesiastical tradition, St. Luke the Evangelist was the first to write an icon of the Virgin and Child. In this icon the Throne upon which she is enthroned is of royal blue cushion depicting her as the "Second Heaven" and upon her vesture are three stars symbolizing her perpetual virginity (before, during and after giving birth to Christ).

Christ is represented not as an Infant but One full of wisdom despite His age. He blesses with His right hand and holds a scroll in His left, showing that He is the Teacher and the Only One Who is able to break the seals (Rev 5:5).

 

 

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