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Theotokos Hodegetria icon

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Theotokos Hodegetria icon
© Cecilia Lawrence
July 23rd 2018
Acrylic, ink, chip-carving on basswood
8x10 inches
About 17.5 Hours


"It is truly right to bless thee, O Theotokos,
ever blessed, and most pure, and the Mother of our God.
More honorable than the cherubim,
and beyond compare more glorious than the seraphim.
Without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word.
True Theotokos, we magnify thee."

~ Axion Estin

Here's my matching icon of the Theotokos Hodegetria I did for an art contest paired with my icon of Christ the Teacher. This is also my first Byzantine-style icon of both Christ the Teacher and the Theotokos Hodegetria, and I'm happy with how they turned out! :D The colors of the original are much deeper and richer, but alas, neither my scanner or any picture I took were able to really bring it out, so this is the best I could do. This icon of the Theotokos is based on other models typical of the Hodegetria type, such as this one, as well as the Iveron icon.

The icon of the Theotokos Hodegetria depicts the Virgin Mary in her traditional robes of red and blue decorated with three stars (one above her forehead and the other two on either shoulder) symbolizing her perpetual virginity. In the Hodegetria icon type (which means "She who shows the Way" or "Directress"), Mary holds the Christ Child with her left arm while she points to Him with her right hand, thus pointing away from herself and directing the viewer's attention to God as a Child in her arms, Who is "the Way, the Truth, and the Light" (John 14:6). The Child Jesus is clothed in robes of white and gold symbolizing His divinity. He raises His right hand in a gesture of blessing and clutches a small scroll in his left hand. The two pointing fingers of His right hand signify the union of the two natures of Christ (both human and divine) and the three fingers touching symbolize the union of the Holy Trinity. The words "I AM" are written in His halo, signifying His Divinity, referencing the words spoken by God to Moses when He revealed His Name as "I AM" in Exodus 3:14. The "IC XC" is the traditional Greek abbreviation of "Jesus Christ" (ΙΗϹΟΥϹ ΧΡΙϹΤΟϹ). The titlos above which indicate a sacred name I have turned into a decorative alpha and omega, as a reference to Revelations 22:13: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." The letters “ΜΡ ΘΥ” above Mary’s head are Greek abbreviations for “Μήτηρ (του) Θεοῦ” which means “Mother of God.” The stars in Mary’s halo are a reference to the “crown of twelve stars” in Revelations 12:1.
Image size
2388x2988px 2.89 MB
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IoannisVas's avatar
Beautiful as the rest of your work! One small tip of importance in case you missed it! Always the fingers of Jesus have a certain position: The pinky alone stands as the letter I for Ιησούς (Jesus), the ring finger with the thumb are crossed so they form the letter X for Χριστός (Christ), the index and middle finger shape two possibilities: C for Cωτήρ (Savior) or V (greek letter N) for Νικά (Victorious). So Jesus Christ Savior or Jesus Christ Victorious