Inseparable from the liturgical tradition, religious art functions as a form of pictorial confession of faith and a channel of religious experience for Orthodox Christians. Because icons were believed to provide direct personal contact with the holy persons represented on them, these images were objects of veneration, in either a public or private setting or during travels, and were also thought to have the ability to heal.
A splendid work of artistry, this stunning composition emphasizes the prominent Virgin who rules peacefully over her sea of followers. Angels usher masses of people, some bare chested, others old and disabled, to her side. She sympathetically looks down upon those who invoke her name for healing and prayer. She hears their calls. A bed of fragrant pink flowers rises from the background. Christ Pantocrater, in his awesome divinity, ruler of the universe gives his blessings from the heavens above in the top center while a sun and moon fill the upper corners. The space has been clearly divided between the terrestrial level, inhabited by the sick and needy, and the celestial realm, symbolized by the golden background, overseen by Christ. Mary dominates all. She is a link between these two worlds, rising from a pedestal on the earth and reaching to the clouds of heaven. The Virgin is a conduit for the plighted masses of the world to speak their prayers to heaven. By invoking the name of the Virgin, through this icon, we too can communicate with the Lord above, who hears our prayers and eases our sufferings.