Orthodox icon | Mother of God of the Burning Bush.
The depiction of the not burning bush portrays the Virgin Mother of God as being engulfed by celestial fire, yet remaining unharmed, making it the ultimate representation of her divine presence. Since the 16th century, this intricate depiction has held great significance in Russia, symbolizing profound devotion to Mary. The icon portrays the Mother of God with Emmanuel enclosed within an eight-pointed star formed by two overlapping diamonds.
Resting upon a rosette, this star is adorned with angelic figures bearing attributes derived from the Akathistos hymn. Positioned within the lower star are the four symbols of the evangelists, while angels grace the rosette and upper points. Among the faithful, this icon is revered as a safeguard against lightning and fire, offering protection to homes and dwellings.
The symbols of the four evangelists – the angel, eagle, lion, and bull – find their origins in the biblical visions of Ezekiel (Old Testament) and John (New Testament). In John’s Revelation of the opened heaven (Rev 4:1-11), the evangelist beheld the throne of the Almighty, encircled by four enigmatic creatures, each possessing six wings.
This visual concept was first depicted in Roman mosaics. The definitive association of these symbols with the evangelists, as commonly recognized today, can be traced back to the 4th-century church father Jerome. Accordingly, the lion represents Mark, the bull symbolizes Luke, the eagle represents John, and the man (angel) signifies Matthew. Jerome also established the chronological order of the Gospels in the New Testament.
The icon features a poliment-gilded background embellished with engraved ornaments.