In this Russian icon the Divine Infant is seen on a rondel blessing the world. Symbolically this depicts Him enclosed in the womb of His Mother as an unborn Child, without ceasing to be what He always was: the true and living God. In a.d. 1170, when Novgorod was battling the superior army of Suzdal, the Archbishop of Novgorod heard a voice calling out of the altar in the Cathedral telling him to take the icon of the Theotokos to the top of the wall which surrounds the city. At the wall, an arrow pierced the icon, and the Theotokos began to cry with the tears running down on the Archbishop’s vestments. This was the sign that the Virgin was praying for the salvation of the city, which was later freed.
Modeled after that original, many Hierarchs and Saints are depicted here around the Virgin. Above is the Holy Trinity and clockwise are the Archangel Gabriel, St. Gregory the Great, St. Nicholas, Metrop. Alexei, Metrop. Philip, St. Barlaam, St. Sabbati of Solovki, St. Gleb, St. John, St. Basil Fool for Christ, St. Boris, St. Zosima, St. Sergius, Metrop. Jonah, Metrop. Peter, St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great, and the Archangel Michael.