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Iconofile: Icons and Sacred Art Iconofile: Icons and Sacred Art
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Virgin Hodigitria and Child (detail)

Item No: 810:THC2
Category: 77

Price:  $15.95
In Stock!

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Reproduction of a detail from an icon painted in the Workshop of St. Gregory of Sinai Monastery by Father Simon
Inside: Christ is Born Wishing you a Blessed Christmas
16 cards and envelopes
Size: 12.5 x 17.5 cm (5 x 7 in.)

Hodigitria is Greek for "Directress" or "She who points the Way," the "Way" here being Christ. The Virgin directs the viewer's attention to her Son with a simple gesture of her right hand; both figures face the viewer directly. Christ is clad in a luminous red-gold robe, signaling His sovereignty, and holds a scroll, symbolizing His teaching authority; His right hand is raised in blessing and a Cross is inscribed within His halo, a feature restricted to depictions of the Saviour. The Greek inscription in the Cross is translated as, "He Who is," or "I Am That I Am," and refers to God's answer to Moses' question regarding His name:

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

Exodus 3:13-15

The Virgin is clad in a wine-red (purple) robe with gold trim, usual in Byzantine ikons; the 3 stars (two on each shoulder and one on the head) are ancient details symbolizing: (1) The All-Holy Trinity and (2) The Virginity of the Mother of God. The red letters to the right of Christ's halo are the Greek abbreviation for "Jesus Christ" and the letters to left and right of the Virgin's halo are the Greek abbreviation for "Mother of God."

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