Inseparable from the liturgical tradition, religious
art is seen by Orthodox Christians as a form of
pictorial confession of faith and a channel of
religious experience. Because the icons provide
a direct personal contact with the holy persons
represented on them, these images should be
objects of veneration, in either a public or private
setting, and were even believed to have the
ability to heal.
Saint Mary Magdalene, along with the Virgin and
St. John the Evangelist, was one of the few
followers of Christ who stood by his side in an all
night vigil during his crucifixition. The legend of
her marriage to Christ even persists to this day.
Once a prostitute, Jesus expelled the evil spirits
that possessed her and converted her from her
sinful ways. Mary is also remembered for
washing Christ’s feet with her renowned red hair.
She was also one of the few people Jesus
revealed himself to upon his resurrection. Here,
she is depicted as a Saint. She holds a golden
chalice ornamented with gems, a part of the
Eucharist and symbol for Christ. She wears a
purple robe over her green garment, both
highlighted by streaks of gold. A halo surrounds
her head, the outer ring of which is adorned by a
series of white dots. An interwoven abstract
pattern frames the arch that borders Mary and
rectangular boundaries of the composition. This
is a sumptuous icon that radiates beauty and
light in its golden background.