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    The couple Saints Joachim and Anna were childless in Israel at a time when this was considered a curse, and an abandonment of a blessing from God towards their family and Israel.  They had lived generous and righteous lives before God and men, and yet even with prayers, had not had their hearts desire for children be fulfilled even after fifty years of marriage.  Then God sent the great Archangel Gabriel to both St. Anna and St. Joachim separately to announce to them that St. Anna indeed would conceive and bear a most special child, who would be a blessing to all mankind.

    In due time this announcement was fulfilled and the Most Holy Virgin Mary Theotokos was born to St. Anna, who is pictured just after having given birth to her child.  The Virgin is shown in a small crib while St. Anna rests from her labors, and the midwife and attendants present look on.  In response to their great joy and blessing from God, the grateful St. Anna promises that her child will be dedicated to God, and in fulfillment of that promise will bring her only child at the tender age of three to the Temple to live her life there from then on.  This is a great mother’s love.

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    This 16th century icon is a part of a celebrated set of festal icons showing important events in the life of Jesus plus a few other renowned feasts of the year.  It was painted by George the Cretan for the Holy Monastery of Dionysiou on Mount Athos, and together they are known to be great examples of Post-Byzantine Greek iconographic art.  This icon is the first of that set of icons.

    The Nativity of the Virgin Mary came about in a wonderful manner.  After SS Joachim and Anna had been married for fifty years without having a child, which was a source of great shame in Israel at that time, they often prayed to God to give them this great blessing in their life and take away this shame.  The great Archangel Gabriel appeared to both St. Anna and to St. Joachim separately advising them that they would have a most special child  “a daughter most blessed....through whom will come the salvation of the world.”    Shortly afterwards, St. Anna did conceive the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Because of their vows to God regarding this child, they brought her to the Temple as  a gift to God when she was only three, where she remained until she was 14, fed by an angel.

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    This icon portrays the Theotokos holding the Christ Child in the first Burning Bush, that which the Prophet Moses saw.  Around the Theotokos and her Son are many scenes from the life of the Prophet Moses.  To the left is Moses taking off his shoes for he is entering into holy ground.  On the top of the icon is Christ, as the Ancient of Days, pictured surrounded by angels, handing down the Ten Commandments on two tablets of stone to Moses.

    Behind the Theotokos to the right are the idolatrous Hebrews who began to worship a golden calf while Moses dwelt on the Holy Mountain receiving the Law from God.  Behind and to the left are many drinking from the spring of water that sprouted up when Moses struck the ground with his staff.  And to the right of the Theotokos is St. John Damascene who composed the hymn that inspired this icon which compared this second unburnt bush, the Mother of God and her eternal virginity, to the first Burning Bush which remained unburnt.  Written by the Cretan painter Michael Damaskinos in the late sixteenth century, the icon is now found at St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, the site of the Burning Bush.

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    Theotokos of Vladimir


    Possibly the most beloved icon of the Virgin Mary in the world, this tenderness style icon now in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow is attributed to the hand of St. Luke the Evangelist and was by tradition painted from life on a board from the table that the Virgin, St. Joseph the Betrothed, and Jesus at times took their meals.  Originally this icon was called the Virgin of Tenderness.  In a.d. 450 it was taken from Jerusalem to Constantinople and in the 12th century was transferred near Kiev and placed in the Devici Monastery, Vyshgorod.   In 1155 Prince Andrew Bogoliubsky was directed by the Virgin in a dream to move her icon from Kiev to the city of Vladimir in northern Russia; thus the name “Of Vladimir”.

    The Virgin is depicted raising her right hand in veneration of her Son, while her face shows silent suffering, calmness, and compassion, not sentimentality.  Several important victories in Russian history are attributed to the intercession of this icon, especially over Tamerlane in a.d. 1395 and over the Poles in a.d. 1612. Except for the faces of the Virgin and Christ, the entire icon has been repainted several times, lastly in 1919 by G. Chirikov.

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    From the great Solovki Monastery located on the Solovki Archipelago shores of the White Sea in northern Russia, this icon was sent out of the monastery when it was confiscated by the Soviets and transformed into a most infamous prison camp.  Many former church dignitaries, bishops, and monks were imprisoned there and killed by this Godless authority.

    The full title of this icon “Stone Cut From the Mountain by No Human Hand,” refers to the sixth ikos of the Akathist Hymn, which in turn refers to Daniel 2:34-35.  Christ is the rock uncut by human hands for “that rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4), while the Virgin symbolizes the heavens that allow the rock to fall.  Her clothes are interwoven with clouds, and the rainbow unfolds from her bosom, a sign of the covenant of God with man.

    Pointing with her right hand to her Son, the Virgin indicates that the solution to every problem in life can be found by looking to Jesus Christ, the source of all goodness and also all solace in our difficulties.  This pointing of the way is the meaning of Hodegetria.  When we look to Him, she will always be close to us.

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    Approximately 10" x 10"
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    The Virgin Mary is truly the “Birth-Giver of God”, for the Second Person of the Holy Trinity was born in time and temporality as the child Jesus Christ; thus we have the term “Theotokos” which is the exact translation of this concept from the Greek.  In this modern Greek icon the Holy Virgin is shown holding her Divine Son on her lap, securely enfolding Him in her arms.  In a like manner, those who lovingly worship her Son as Lord, as God, and as Saviour are protected by the embrace of her intercessions.  The Orthodox Church teaches that although she was born in this world with our same nature, and having received the same wound of fallenness and illness as all men, she preserved herself from all sin from her very infancy by her active cooperation with God’s saving Grace, and this made her All-Pure, All-Holy, and Most Blessed.

    We are meant to follow on this same path of holiness, as have our older brothers and sisters, the Holy Saints, until we too are sanctified and fully remade into His Image and Likeness.  If we follow Him, we will follow all of them, for they are now with Him in glory in the Heavenly Realm of the Eternal Kingdom.

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    On October 6th 2007, the Miracleworking and Myrrh-streaming Hawaiian Iveron Icon of the Theotokos was found on a bookshelf in Hawaii exuding myrrh. In 2008, the Iveron Icon was officially recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church as miraculous and worthy of veneration. Since that time, this sacred image has visited over 500 Orthodox churches and monasteries in the United States and Canada. It has been a source of numerous miraculous occurrences, including many healings from both physical and spiritual infirmities.   Please note: icon sizes are approximate.
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    This contemporary Greek icon was painted by the Monk Michael of Mount Athos in 1990 and shows the Virgin Mary with her Divine Child as Sweet Kissing, referring to the tender embrace of both her and her Son in this expressive icon.  Here the Theotokos or “Birth-Giver of God” (which is the exact translation from the Greek) sweetly holds Him and presses her cheek against Christ’s cheek to show the wonderful and mutual familiar relationship of mother to child, and child to mother.  At the same time, however, she was very aware that His was no mere human person but the Living God Who came down from Heaven, and thus always treated Him with the utmost love and reverence as her God.

    Christ truly had two natures, one human and one Divine, that together made up His one Person, the most full expression of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  These two concepts--the mystery of the Persons yet unity of the Holy Trinity, and the two natures of Christ--are beyond the human mind, yet were elucidated most perfectly by our Holy Fathers at the Seven Ecumenical Councils from a.d. 325 to 787.

    Sizes are approximate

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    This icon of the Virgin Mary was painted in 1989 by the Monk Michael of the Holy Mountain of Athos, a monastic republic on a peninsula in northeastern Greece.  The Holy Mountain is dedicated to the Orthodox monastic life and has flourished for over a thousand years with all forms of Orthodox monasticism present (hermetic, semi-hermetic, and communal) and made up of people of many Orthodox nationalities.  Athos is also dedicated to the protection and rulership of the Virgin Mary as its icon and abbess.

    Here in this icon the Virgin Theotokos (from the Greek “Birth-Giver of God”, a term of honor confirmed for her at the Third Ecumenical Council in a.d. 431 to refute the Nestorian Heresy) cradles her Son as He reaches up to touch her face with His blessed hand.  In Christ’s halo are the Greek letters for “I AM” for although the Divine Infant is revealed as a Child, He is always the All-Knowing God depicted by the adult features of His face.  The Child  is here revealed as the Grace of all the world, and the Virgin is the bearer of this “Great Grace” which will transfigure us and make us holy if we will learn to cooperate and do all that He says.

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    Approximately 10.25″ x 9″.  Gold framed icon with protective glass to keep this wonderful piece intact for years. It has a hook on the back side, thickness of the icon with the frame 1″.
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    This mid-14th c. icon was done in a.d. 1365 in the time of Archbishop Gregory Devolski at Ochrid, Macedonia.  The small figure of the Virgin Mary can be seen in the midst of other virgins who accompanied her to the Temple to fulfill the vow of her parents SS Joachim and Anna to dedicate this most precious gift back to the service of the Lord when she was just three years old.  The priest Zacharias, later the father of the John the Baptist, receives this pure flower of humanity and brings her in Divine inspiration into the Holy of Holies of the Temple where only the High Priest himself is supposed to go once a year, and not without blood.

    Harmoniously, human wills are united with the Divine Will and with the wondrous plan for Mankind for the preparation of the most pure Virgin Mary to receive nearly a dozen years later the Incarnate God in her womb, the new tabernacle and throne of God on earth.   Each face here is peaceful and loving as all unite in love to do God’s sweet Will on earth for the impending Mystery.  Above we see here an angel later feeding the Virgin in the Temple, as icons often show simultaneous spiritual time.

    Sizes are approximate

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    This icon is known in the East as The Virgin of Passions (because the Christ Child has a startled look on his face as he sees the angels holding the instruments of Passion) and in the West as Our Lady of Perpetual Help. 8 3/4"x7 1/4".
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    3" x 2 1/2" Please note: The background is all gold and does not have the dark color on top as pictured.
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    3" x 2 1/2" Please note: Background of icon is a bright blue color, not white like pictured.
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    8 3/4" x 7 1/4"
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    The original of the icon of the Mother of God called "Portaitissa", or "Of the Portal," is kept at Holy Iviron Monastery on Mount Athos.  In the 9th century when the iconoclasts were destroying all the icons throughout Asia, devout Christians from Nicea put this icon into the sea to save it.  To their amazement, the icon stood upright in the water and “sailed” away from sight.  It appeared off the coast of the Athos peninsula in the rough waters by Iviron Monastery.  A holy monk was called to bring the icon to land, which he did by walking over the waters and carrying it back.

    The monks put the icon in a porch temporarily until a place could be found in the main church for it, but when it was moved to the church, the icon moved back itself many days in a row.  The Virgin Mary then appeared to the abbot of the monastery in a dream and told him to leave her where she was so that she could look after him and all of the monks.  This is the meaning of “Of the Portal.”  Years later Turkish pirates overran the monastery and one of them struck the icon on the cheek with a dagger, which began to bleed.  The amazed pirate repented and became a monk.

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    Life-Giving Spring Icon

    This icon of the Mother of God has a wonderful story that explains the commemoration of the event that inspired it and its vivid depiction here, and shows how God is merciful and compassionate towards all men. Once a soldier named Leo assisted a blind man who had lost his way. While looking for water for him, he heard a voice from an unseen person say “Emperor Leo, take water and give it to the thirsty man; then take some of the slime by it and put it on his eyes.” To the soldier Leo’s surprise, a nearby spring gushed out before him. When he did as the voice commanded him, the blind man received his sight. This soldier later became the Christian East Roman or Byzantine Emperor Leo I (457-473). When Leo became the Emperor, he erected a church in honor of the Mother of God at this Life-Giving Spring near the “Golden Gates” in Constantinople where the spring had come up. Later the church was destroyed by the Turks, but in 1835 a new church was built at the same site and consecrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch Constantine. This spring still flows for the salvation and healing of all who come there to the Virgin’s Son.
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    You can now own a mounted print of the wonderworking Icon of St. Anna, that now resides at St. Tikhon's Monastery!