In Orthodox tradition, icons usually depict
Theotokos (The Mother of God) with the Christ child, however
in some instances she is shown without him. Theotokos is the
title used by the Eastern Orthodox Church when referring to the
Virgin Mary. Mary is a form of Maria, the oldest name in the
Christian Church. Some suggest the name Maria means "sorrowful;
bitter" while other say it means "wished-for-child"
or "rebellion." The Orthodox Church honors her on September
8th (the birth of Theotokos), November 21 (Presentation to the
Temple), March 25th (The Annunciation). and August 15th (The
Repose of Theotokos).
An icon of the Mother of God "is
considered authentic, an object of worship, because it is a revealed
truth." (Tradigo, 2006 ed.) The first portraitist of Theotokos
is Luke the evangelist, although he did not paint her until after
Christ's death when she was elderly.
Tradigo, A. (2004) Icons and Saints
of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Translation: Sartarelli,
S. 2006 edition. Los Angeles, California: Getty Publications,
J. Paul Getty Museum.p.169-71
Hallick, M.P. (1984) The Book of
Saints. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Light and Life Publishing