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Theotokos (Mary Mother of God):Mary, Theotokos

The icon of the Virgin Mary or the Mother of God or Theotokos can be found in almost all Russian Orthodox Churches for prayer and veneration, and in houses of those who belong to the Orthodox faith. Certain icons of the Virgin Mary have been known to work miracles and stream myrrh. The stories relating to the divine power in praying to the Virgin Mary for healing, faith, and guidance are very abundant and most cannot be explained. One just has to have faith and believe that praying to the Virgin Mary makes a difference. This icon of Mary with Christ is one of the most common and beloved compositions. In fact, it is very rare to find an icon of Mary without Christ in Orthodox iconography. This in itself is significant to the portrayal of Mary's greatness, for its source is the unique relationship that she has with her son. Mary is still highly venerated today because she gave over her will, and herself, to God by consenting to give birth to the Saviour. In Orthodoxy, Mary is referred to as the Theotokos, which is Greek for "the Birth-giver of God". She is also referred to as the "Mother of God", as the letters MPOY, painted on either side of her image, refer to. The Church Slavonic letters of IC XC, to the left, translate as "Jesus Christ". Iconographers use images and composition to convey symbolic meaning. For instance, Mary's hand pointing towards her son says to the viewer, "Here is your Saviour, the long awaited Messiah." The stars, or diadems, on Mary's veil are symbolic of her perpetual virginity. The lines of Jesus' robe are painted as if they were radiating from one point of light. This is symbolic of God as light of the world.