St. Irene was born in the mid-ninth century in Cappadocia, and was summoned to Constantinople to marry the Emperor Michael III, but God arranged Irene’s prayers to live for Him alone, so they were answered. The Emperor took another wife, and St. Irene entered the convent in Chrysovalantou, where she lived an exemplary life of prayer, obedience, humility, and asceticism. After one year she began the lifelong practice of standing in prayer each night from Vespers until Matins, or Orthros.
On her death bed, the abbess chose St. Irene to succeed her, and the nuns and Patriarch Methodius agreed. Although she felt unworthy, in her humility she depended more on God to guide her nuns, and so directed them through many trials. She counseled many souls, healed demonic possession, prophetically predicted future events, and performed ascetical feats and miracles. In this icon, St. Irene is depicted in front of her convent, standing before a bowed cyprus tree where she often prayed, and holding three apples that St. John the Beloved had given to her from Paradise. St. Irene went to live forever with her Lord at the age of 102.