The original icon (of which this is a close reproduction) was made in egg tempera on wood in the 12th century and is attributed to the hand of the first Russian iconographer, St. Alypy of the Kiev Caves Lavra. The Church Feastday for this icon is July 8th. This is known as an icon “of the Sign”, that sign spoken of by the Prophet Isaiah, for in His being begotten by the Father from a Virgin without seed, God the Word has begun the process that will open for us the gates of Paradise. It is this opening which lets us sing so sweetly, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.”
The particular close detail shown in this reproduction clearly reveals the wonderful expression in the Virgin Mary’s face and eyes as she looks inwardly to see her Son enthroned in her heart, and simultaneously looks outwardly towards us with such compassion and love for God and for us imprinted so boldly before us. She is the most blessed intercessor of the Church, ever pointing us to her Son, and Him to us. May we hear her thus calling for us to enter into a closer and more living relationship with Him.