Orthodox icon | Four Mother of God icons | 24908


  • Russian icon
  • 19th century
  • 22 x 17 cm | 8.7 x 6.7 in


Mother of God “Softener of Evil Hearts”

Originating from Western iconography around 1800, this depiction became increasingly popular in Russia in the 19th century. The Mother of God is portrayed alone in a half-length portrait, tilting her head to the left and facing the viewer directly. Her hands are held together in front of her chest. From her heart, seven swords, representing the seven sins, protrude — three from the top and one from the bottom — symbolizing the seven sorrows of the Mother of God (though not depicted in this icon).

Mother of God “Soothe My Sorrows”

As per legend, this icon was introduced to the St. Nicholas Church in Moscow by the Cossacks during Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich’s rule. Its worship notably intensified during the 1771 plague outbreak. The Christ child is seated on the left arm of the Mother of God. Icons of this type often depict the scene in mirror-reverse. Christ’s hands hold an open scroll bearing the inscription from the canon of the cross: “Judge just judgment.” The Mother of God’s right hand is laid over the child’s legs while her left supports her head. This icon is celebrated on January 25.

Mother of God “of Distress”

This likely modern portrayal, which gained considerable popularity in the 19th century, shows the child seated on the left arm of the Mother of God. She holds his bare right foot (often nestled between her thumb and palm). She dons a crown and a short white veil over her hair. Christ’s left hand reaches to touch her neck.

Mother of God “Seeker of the Lost” – from the village of Bor near Kaluga

Originally housed in the Church of the Nativity of Christ (na Palaschach), located near Tversky Boulevard in Moscow, this icon was created in the 17th century. The church, however, was demolished post-1928. To honor this representation, a church was erected in the Alexandrov Orphanage in Moscow in 1835. The icon, highly revered in the 19th century, depicts the Christ child standing upright on the Mother of God’s lap and embracing her. This icon’s feast day is February 5.

The icon’s background features poliment gilding, with engravings, punchings, and painted ornamentations.

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Orthodox icon | Four Mother of God icons | 24908
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