And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

“Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:1-4‬ ‭KJV‬‬

A Saint: St. Luke the Evangelist

Another example of an icon of a saint, this depicts St. Luke writing his Gospel. His symbol, the winged ox, can be seen above him. 17th century. Russian.

Icons: Major Motifs

According to iconographer Solrunn Nes, “the icon painter’s repertoire consists of the complete gallery of persons in the New and Old Testaments, as well as holy men and women in Church tradition. A motif may incorporate one person, a group, an event or the progress of an event.” Certain motifs have been more frequently depicted than others. Of those of Christ, “Christ Pantocrator,” “Christ Emmanuel,” and “The Icon Not Created by Human Hands” are the most reproduced. Most frequently used motifs of the Virgin Mary are “Our Lady of the Sign,” “The Mother of God, Hodegetria,” and “The Mother of God, Eloeusa.” Festival icons of the major liturgical feasts of the Church year are frequent subjects. Icons of the saints and biblical events have also been popular.

All images are in the public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Click on an image to enlarge it.

Nes, Solrunn. The Mystical Language of Icons, 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009.

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