Here is a beautiful 16th century Greek icon of the Theotokos (Greek for “Birth-Giver of God) in a Sweet Kissing style, which is a variant of the Eleusa or Merciful style icons of the Virgin Mary. Eleusa icons show forth the mercy of God towards us sinners as epitomized in the loving-kindness of the Virgin Mary in her relationship to each of the Faithful. The Mystery of her relationship with her Son is a door to greater understanding of how we too can relate to Christ with such ardent love, clear and persistent devotion, direct obedience, and careful respect and awe.
In this icon we see the Lord with His cheek sweetly pressed against the Virgin’s cheek, and His left hand tenderly holding her hands. He holds a prophet’s scroll in His right hand to indicate that He is actually the fulfillment of the Prophets’ hopes and words, being Incarnate on earth with men and opening up to them fully the Kingdom of God which had been shut. Both the Lord and the Virgin look out at us, inviting us also into their intense and personal relationship of love. This icon is found today in the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece, among other famous icons.