Icon of the Theotokos (Theophanes) – T37


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This is one of the many icons painted in the mid-16th century by the master iconographer Theophanes the Cretan at Stavro-nikita Monastery on the Holy Mountain of Athos, an ancient  monastic peninsula which is in northeastern Greece.  After the Fall of Constantinople in a.d. 1453 and the persecution of Christianity under the Moslem rulers of the crumbled Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, many of the iconographers came from or worked in Crete, the Greek Islands, or in Italy where the persecution did not interfere with making new icons.

This icon was painted by the master iconographer Theophanes the Cretan in 1546 and is found with many more of his masterpieces at the Katholikon or main monastery church of the monastery.  It is in the Hodegetria or Directress style in which the Virgin indicates by her right hand her Son, the Lord of Hosts, as “the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)  There are three stars visible, on her veil and both of her shoulders, which symbolize her perpetual virginity–before, during, and after childbirth–for she had completely dedicated herself to God alone from the age of three.

Additional information

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Hodegetria (Directress)




Stavronikita Monastery, Mt. Athos, Greece


16th c. (Mid)


Theophanes the Cretan