Orthodox icon | Pokrov | Intercession of the Mother of God | 24719.
The icon’s background is exquisitely crafted from white metal, adorned with gold lacquer, enhancing the overall aesthetic beauty of the piece. The meticulous and refined painting technique showcases the artist’s skill and attention to detail, resulting in a truly captivating work of art.
The feast of the Mother of God Pokrov, also known as the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, holds a special place in the liturgical calendar, observed on October 1st. This solemn occasion commemorates a significant event in Constantinople’s Blachernae Church, where the Mother of God made a divine apparition.
Within the church, cherished relics such as her dress, veil, and a portion of her belt were preserved.
During the sacred service, two devout individuals, Saint Andrew (also known as Andrew the Fool-for-Christ, who lived until 956) and his disciple Epiphanius, were blessed with a remarkable vision. They beheld the awe-inspiring sight of the Mother of God herself, gracefully moving towards the Ambon (pulpit). She was accompanied by two prominent saints, Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist, along with a host of other celestial beings.
As the Mother of God approached the altar, she turned towards the congregation, unfolding the veil that enshrouded her. In a divine gesture of love and protection, she extended the veil over all the people assembled within the church. Though only Andrew and Epiphanius were granted the vision of her divine presence, everyone present experienced the profound grace of her intercession.
Iconography depicting the Mother of God Pokrov often portrays her hovering on a delicate cloud, holding the protective veil. Positioned to her right are a group of saints led by Saint John the Theologian, while on her left stand saints led by Saint John the Baptist.
At the bottom right of the icon, we find Saint Andrew the Fool-for-Christ, whose feast day falls on October 2nd, along with his pupil Epiphanius. Completing the semicircular arrangement around the Ambon, in the middle of the church, is a young man known as Romanos the Melodist (celebrated on October 1st).
Romanos, a renowned hymnographer from either the 6th or 8th century, stands as a significant figure in the icon. Behind the Ambon, a choir of youths and virgins accompany the scene. The architectural backdrop showcases the Blachernae Church, the sacred setting where this miraculous event transpired.
A captivating additional scene on the icon captures the moment when the Mother of God appears to Saint Romanos in a dream, offering him a scroll of parchment to consume. The following day, Romanos awakens endowed with a magnificent voice and proceeds to contribute significantly to the rich tapestry of the Church’s hymnography, becoming one of its most celebrated poets.
The left side of the icon features depictions of various saints, including:
- Saint Mary the Egyptian (celebrated on April 1st)
- Saint Martyr Paraskeva (March 20th)
- Saint Martyr Catherine of Alexandria (November 25th)
- Saint Sergius of Radonezh (September 25th)
- Saint Theodosius of Pechora (September 2nd)
- Saint John of Damascus (December 4th)
- Saint Prophet Zechariah (February 8th)
- Saint Apostle Matthias (August 9th)
- Saint Apostle James (October 9th)
- Saint Apostle Peter (June 29th)
- Saint John the Baptist (June 24th)
- Saint Archangel Michael (November 8th)
- Empress Zoe Karbonopsina
- Emperor Leo VI (known as Leo the Wise)
- Saint Tarasios, Patriarch of Constantinople (February 25th).
On the right side of the icon, one can observe depictions of:
- Saint Martyr Eudokia of Heliopolis (March 1st)
- Saint Martyr Tatiana (January 12th)
- Saint Martyr Boniface (December 19th)
- Saint Symeon the Receiver of God (February 3rd)
- Saint Basil the Great (celebrated on January 1st)
- Saint Gregory the Theologian (January 25th)
- Saint John Chrysostom (September 14th)
- Saint Archangel Gabriel (November 8th)
- Saint Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian (May 8th)
- Saint Apostle and Evangelist Luke (October 18th)
- Saint Apostle Paul (June 29th)Saint Apostle Andrew (November 30th).
It is important to note that the dates provided for the saints’ feast days adhere to the Julian calendar, which may differ from the commonly used Gregorian calendar.