From the Holy Trinity Monastery in Sopocani, Serbia, this 13th century icon of the Virgin Mary was originally part of a Deisis or “Supplicating” set of icons with her hands raised in prayer to her Son as she prays for all of us. Here the Mother of the Most High God is shown in detail, with her sorrowful face showing that she is well aware that because of her great love and honor for her Divine Son, a sword will pierce her heart as predicted by the Holy Elder Symeon. These words were deeply fulfilled when she stood beneath His Cross and watched Him die without protest, the innocent Lamb of God immolated in sacrifice for us all.
The Holy and All-Pure Virgin was a great lover of God, and this love translated into the particulars of her life, many of which have come down to us. Dedicated to God from her birth (which was an answer to prayer), she lived in the Temple at Jerusalem from the age of three to fourteen, spinning the purple thread for the veil which separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple. She became that new Holy of Holies when the Lord of Lords was conceived and carried inside her sanctified body.