Icon of “Do Not Lament Me, O Mother” – F79


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Movable Church Feast Day 1

Great & Holy Friday




Extreme Humility


19th c. (Mid)


A variant of the type of icon “Extreme Humility,” this Russian icon was made in the mid-19th century.  The Theotokos Mary standing outside Christ’s tomb is embracing her Son whose eyes are closed in death in the tomb with His Cross standing behind them on which is inscribed, “Jesus Christ, The King of Glory.”  The Virgin’s tender embrace hauntingly echoes icons of the Virgin of Tenderness (Eleusa) where the Divine Infant tenderly embraces her.  Here the Virgin supports her Son in death and so enters into the mystery of the sufferings and death of the Cross.  This Cross, which had been a symbol of dreaded anguish, is now our symbol of victory and love, but we, too, must embrace Him and it in our lives.

This icon is named after a most moving and beautiful  hymn sung at Ode 9 near the end of the Matins or Orthros service for Christ’s burial and our lamentations on the Eve of Holy Saturday, and sung again the next day, “Do not lament Me, O Mother, seeing Me in the tomb; the Son conceived in the womb without seed, for I shall arise and be glorified with eternal glory as God.  I shall exalt all who magnify thee in faith and love.”