Mother of God of the “Seven Sorrows” | Mother of God “Softening of the Evil Heart”

In the 19th century, a popular depiction of the Virgin Mary emerged in Russia, likely inspired by
Western iconography. The image portrays the Mother of God with seven swords located in front
of her breast – three on each side and one below. This depiction symbolizes the seven sorrows
of the Blessed Mother, representing each of the seven sins.
The origins of this iconic imagery can be traced back to the prophecy of the old man Simeon.
According to the Gospel of Luke, Simeon encountered the Theotokos when Christ was
presented in the temple; Simeon predicted the sorrows the Mother of God would suffer
throughout her life.
The Troparion associated with this depiction is in the fifth tone; it implores the Virgin Mary to
soften the hearts of those who hate us, and to shield us against their attacks. As the faithful
gaze upon her holy image, they are moved to contrition by her pity and mercy. They are
compelled to kiss the scars that mark her wounds, and are chilled by the arrows that torment
Merciful Mother, we implore thee: guide us away from our own hard-heartedness and the
callousness of others, so that we might not perish. For truly, you are the compassionate one
who softens even the hardest of hearts.
Commemoration day: August 13 and All Saints Sunday