The Theotokos of Jerusalem
January 23rd 2013
8.5 inches by 11 inches
The King looked up, and what he saw
Was a great light like death,
For Our Lady stood on the standards rent,
As lonely and as innocent
As when between white walls she went
And the lilies of Nazareth.
One instant in a still light
He saw Our Lady then,
Her dress was soft as western sky,
And she was a queen most womanly—
But she was a queen of men.
~ The Ballad of the White Horse by G.K. Chesterton
“Blessed are you, daughter, by God Most High, above all the women on earth. Your deed of hope will never be forgotten by those who recall the might of God.” ~ Judith 13:18-19
Hurray first art piece of 2013! And I finally got around to finishing this picture! I had sketched a little thumbnail for it months and months ago (probably early 2012), and I had planned on finishing it in October (I even had it sketched out and everything) but I never managed to finish it until now. December got too busy to work on it, and I didn’t manage to finish it for the Feast of the Mother of God on January first, as I’d hoped. So perhaps it is somehow meaningful that I am uploading it on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade; may Our Lady, Mother of Our Savior and the Hope of the World who became Incarnate in her womb, sanctify the whole world—and all wombs—with His presence. Kyrie eleison.
About the image itself though: Our Lady of Jerusalem is in the Byzantine style of 'Hodegetria' "an iconographic depiction of the Theotokos holding the Child Jesus at her side while pointing to Him as the source of salvation for mankind.”
"Hodegetria" is Greek for "She Who Shows the Way."
Mary points away from herself to the Christ Child. Jesus holds the a globus cruciger and blesses the viewer with His right hand. In this posture Mary holds the viewer's attention and points beyond herself to the Child in her arms to show that He is "the Way and the Truth and the Life"
(John 14:6). In this icon, the Virgin’s hand rests lightly on the Christ Child’s knee, both pointing to Him and showing a tender familiarity with Him. With her other arm she bears Him up. The Child Jesus raises His hand in blessing, and rests His other hand upon a symbol of royalty: the orb. But this is not simply an orb that shows His royal and imperial power; it is the more particular globus cruciger
, “the cross-bearing orb” which symbolizes Christ’s reign over the entire universe. I chose not only to symbolize the Earth with the globe, but instead I wanted to make a glassy black orb glittering with stars to represent not only the planet Earth, but the entire universe. The Cross has dominion over all and holds all within its band of love and surmounts all obstacles. I think it most appropriate that this icon depicts Christ with a globus cruciger because Jerusalem was seen as the center or “navel” of the world, both by the Jews in antiquity and by Christians in the Middle Ages. Here, both Virgin and Child look straight out at the viewer with great love and tender protection. The Holy Land is one of the most war-ranged places on Earth may the Theotokos intercede with her Son and God to restore peace to all lands, both from war and from other evils, especially from evils committed against the Unborn.This is the original image of Our Lady of the Jerusalem: [link] [link] [link]
A man who claimed to have seen the Virgin before in visions said, "The Virgin Mary looks a lot like the one in the icon of the Theotokos of Jerusalem. She is exactly the same. I have seen her many times and I don't know of any other icon resembling her so much.” ~ Elder Paisios the Athonite
(1924 -- 1994).Akathist to Our Lady, Daughter of Zion: [link]KONTAKION 6
(see Ps. 24:7-10)
The ancient gates of Zion were lifted up, allowing the King of Glory with His Ark to enter the holy City, and foretelling the time when the divine Presence would enter the Handmaiden of God and dwell in her holy flesh. Amazed at such holiness dwelling among men, we royal soldiers sing to her, Alleluia! IKOS 6
(see Ps. 46)
God our refuge and strength is with us; the God of Jacob is mighty in His City. He is in the midst of her, so that she will not be moved, and He will help her right early. Knowing the Theotokos to be a bulwark of protection for us weak sinners, we cry out boldly to her:
Rejoice, O refuge from our enemies!
Rejoice, you that make our troubles to cease!
Rejoice, O immovable mountain when the waters roar and foam!
Rejoice, O place of peace when the earth begins to quake!
Rejoice, for God came to dwell in the midst of your holy body!
Rejoice, for God is your helper who will not fail!
Rejoice, O intercessor through whom wars cease to the ends of the earth!
Rejoice, O Mother of the Victorious Lord!
Rejoice, O bestower of divine stillness!
Rejoice, you through whom we come to know our God!
Rejoice, you that exalted God in your life!
Rejoice, O humble one through whom God is exalted among the nations!
Rejoice O Theotokos, Virgin Daughter of Zion!A Brief History of the Image
The Panagia Ierosolymitissa (Most Holy Lady of Jerusalem) is an icon of the Theotokos associated with Jerusalem because the original icon can be found in the empty Tomb of Mary, in the Kidron Valley (along the Mount of Olives) to the east of the Old City of Jerusalem. As to the origin of the icon, one story has it that a nun from the Holy Monastery of St. Mary Magdalene named Tatiana received it in a vision in 1870. One night, in a dream, Tatiana beheld a woman asking the nun to paint her. She obeyed, and as she was painting, the woman’s clothes suddenly began to turn a heavenly gold and a brightness shone about her. The nun realized that she was painting the Mother of God. She awoke and told her superior all that had happened in her dream, but the abbess did not believe her. Tatiana went back to her cell, but saw a bright light emanating from it. She went back to the abbess and brought her there, and they both went into the cell. Inside, the room was perfumed with a beautiful fragrance and a great light was shining from the icon of Our Lady of Jerusalem that was within. The Theotokos told Tatiana later to take the icon to the Tomb of the Virgin by Jerusalem. This kind of miraculous icon is called acheiropoieto
(an image “not painted by hands”). ([link]
). Our Lady of Jerusalem, Virgin-Mother of God, Daughter of God’s Chosen People, Highest Honor of our race, Mother of the Heavenly Jerusalem, All-Holy Temple and Sanctuary of the LORD, Mystical Mount Zion, True Ark of the New Covenant, Burning Bush—Flaming and yet Unconsumed by the Divine Presence within you, All-Pure Lady who bore the Messiah and Redeemer of the World, Queen and Patroness of the Holy Land—pray for us! PRAYER TO THE MOST HOLY THEOTOKOS, DAUGHTER OF ZIONO most holy Lady Theotokos, our God has made you a city set upon a hill, and your light gives light to the world. Like Zion of old, you are our bulwark and protection; like the Jerusalem which is above, you are our Mother, and it is upon your maternal love and intercession that all Christians rely. Trusting in your prayers, we come to you for help: heal the sick, bind up the broken-hearted, lead back those who wander that they may return to the truth and find their home in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Do not despise the petitions we bring you in our brokenness and sin, but restore us through your powerful prayers. Thus restored, may we finally come to inherit the Kingdom of your Son, and to stand before His throne with rejoicing on the Last Day, ceaselessly giving thanks to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.