The Orthodox icon Mother of God of Iveron is illustrated here.
About this icon:
In the portrayal, the Virgin Mary tenderly cradles the infant Jesus in her left arm, while her right hand gestures prayerfully towards him. The Redeemer actively lifts his head, his face partially swiveling towards Mary. Meanwhile, Mary leans her head towards him. A distinct feature of the Iveron icon, a wound prominently marks the right cheek of the Mother of God, from which blood visibly flows.
This icon’s legend dates back to the 9th century, during the iconoclastic heresy and harsh persecution of icon veneration. A faithful widow near Nikaia, not far from Constantinople, safeguarded this miraculous Virgin Mary icon. Emperor Theophilos’ soldiers, fierce iconoclasts, invaded her home, intent on destroying the icon. She begged for one more day.
Despite her pleas, one soldier, consumed by rage, struck the Virgin’s image on the icon with his spear. The icon bled as if it were alive. To protect it, the widow threw it into the sea. It floated upright as if someone held it.
Her son witnessed this event. He later moved to Mount Athos, recounting the tale of his mother’s ocean-thrown icon.
Eventually, monks at the Iveron Monastery on Mount Athos spotted a flame pillar from the sea. It stood above the icon. After intense prayer, the Blessed Virgin appeared to monk Gabriel in a dream. She ordered him to retrieve the icon. The monks welcomed the icon with joy and respect, placing it in their church.
However, they found the icon had mysteriously relocated to the monastery gate the next morning. Despite several attempts to return the icon to the church, it would always reappear above the monastery gate. Eventually, the Virgin Mary revealed to Gabriel that she wished to act as the protector of the monks, guarding not only their earthly lives but also their eternal salvation.
The Iveron icon of the Mother of God receives celebration through a festival held three times each year: February 12, October 13, and the Tuesday of Holy (Easter) Week.
An intricate engraved pattern decorates the gilded background of the icon, with painted ornaments accentuating its edges.