Mother of God “Enlightener of Minds” | Mother of God “of the Students”

This unique icon originates from the city of Rybinsk in the Yaroslavl province of Russia. It depicts
the Mother of God and the Divine Child enveloped in what appears to be a priest’s shield, while
angels holding lit candles flank them on both sides. Cherubs with outstretched wings can be
seen underneath the Virgin’s feet and above her head. The design of this icon was modeled
after a statue in the city of Loreto, Italy, which also features a similar shell-like covering.
The icon, referred to as the “Illuminator of the Spirit” (Подательница ума), embodies the
deeply held belief of Orthodox Christians in the Virgin Mary’s ability to intercede before God
and her Son, Jesus Christ, in order to bestow both earthly and spiritual blessings. The most
significant of these blessings is the enlightenment of one’s mind and heart through the Divine

Parents often turn to the Mother of God and her Divine Child for assistance in guiding their
children towards a greater understanding of the faith, as well as in worldly matters. They
fervently pray for the growth and strengthening of their children’s thoughts and beliefs, so that
they may retain the knowledge imparted to them. Similarly, individuals seek the aid of the
Virgin Mary to overcome delusions and mental illness, trusting in her ability to offer comfort
and relief.
Overall, the icon serves as a powerful representation of the Orthodox faith’s unwavering
devotion to the Virgin Mary and her enduring legacy as a source of divine wisdom and guidance.
Commemoration day: August 15