The icon of the Kazan Mother of God is one of the most loved of all the images of Our Lady. It is the newest tutorial packet from St. Elizabeth Icon Studio.
According to Russian tradition, this icon appeared in the city of Kazan in 1579. It is attributed to saving Moscow and All Russia from the invasion of the Poles in 1612.
Those who are not familiar with the Orthodox or Roman Catholic traditions sometimes question the practice of referring to Jesus’ mother Mary as the Mother of God. But this title dates to the earliest days of the Church. Mary was solemnly proclaimed Mother of God by the Council of Chalcedon in the year 431 AD. Long before that time, in the third century, the Christians of Egypt addressed this prayer to Mary:
We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God:
despise not our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us from all evil,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.
As the painting of Byzantine icons began to flourish in the fourth century, many images of the Mother of God developed. Today there are over three hundred variations of icons of Mary. The Kazan Mother of God is part of the genre of icons known as the Hodegitria Mother of God: images in which the Virgin is presenting her Son to the world, telling us that He is the one to follow, the one who knows the way.
Christ Emmanuel is dressed in the cloth of gold that symbolizes his divinity. The red band on his shoulder is a klav, a symbol of authority in the Byzantine court. His right hand is extended to us in a sign of blessing—his two extended fingers symbolize his two natures, human and divine. His three fingers together symbolize the Trinity. The Virgin is dressed in a red outer robe, symbolizing her humanity. The gold stars on her robe symbolize her virginity—before, during and after the birth of Christ. In accord with ancient iconographic tradition, the names of the Virgin and the Christ Child are inscribed in Greek abbreviations: MP OY, Mother of God, and IC XC, Jesus Christ.
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Tutorial packets help students paint at home, using what they have learned in workshops taught by the Prosopon School of Iconology or its affiliates. The instructions are based upon the school’s methods and techniques, and it is assumed that those painting from packets are familiar with the school’s terminology. For cost and instructions on ordering, go to the tutorial packets page.