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What do the icons mean?

In the Christian religion, especially in Orthodoxy,of great importance are icons. Previously, people read icons without problems and understood the symbols of images and images. It is worth noting that the icons depict not only the faces of saints, but also whole stories and stories, you just need to read them correctly. Our article Whom are depicted on icons will tell you in more detail about who can be seen on the icons.

How to read icons, what symbols mean

The content of the icon is revealed from the bottom up, likeas if rising from the earthly to the sublime. The tree on which the icon is written matters: the icons of the Mother of God are written on the lime tree, as this is a female tree, Christ is depicted on oak icons (the symbol of eternity), and the apostles or saints are on beech (strength of spirit).

The line between the image and the frame is the boundary between the spiritual and the worldly. Most often it is red, because the transition was bloody.

The perspective of icons is unaccustomed to the eye - the reverse perspective. This is not the whim of the icon painters, so the importance of the image on the icon is emphasized, the icon looks at us, and not us at it.

Colors that occur on icons

The white background of the icon means the desire for Paradise, the golden one is a symbol of holiness and the pursuit of eternal life. The "golden" icons often depict the saints and apostles, as if emphasizing their holiness and the radiance of the soul.

The red color on the icon indicates blood, somartyrs are always depicted in red robes. The red wings of angels mean their proximity to God, very often the Virgin is depicted in red robes, it is also a symbol of closeness to God. Also, red is the color of Resurrection, so some Easter icons can have a red background.

Blue and blue are a symbol of the sky, but also a symbol of the Virgin. On the icons, the Mother of God temples are always depicted with blue domes.

But what color is the canonical icon is not -this is gray. Gray color is obtained from a mixture of black and white, that is, darkness and light, which religion does not allow. For the same reason, shadows are never depicted on icons.

Geometric figures on icons

Of course, icons are not masterpieces of Cubists, which are all conveyed by

triangles and squares, but here you can also find different geometric shapes.

A square or rectangle is often depicted under the feet of a saint and signifies his human essence and earthly life.

Hexagon means six days of creation, octagon - eternity.

Krogh is the most common symbol on icons. It means the fullness of being. Nimbuses on the heads of saints are always in the form of a circle. On the icon "O You rejoice" the Virgin is inscribed in a circle, as a symbol of Divine glory. Also around is the invisible divine power, which always stands at the top of the icon.

Gestures and other symbols

As already mentioned, every centimeter of the iconfilled with meaning, so everything has its own explanation: the folds on the clothes symbolize spiritual energy. So, in the early icons on the clothes, a lot of folds were drawn that denoted the absence of spiritual tranquility, in the later icons the folds on the garments are bigger and rarer, which indicates the stable position of the church and faith.

The Virgin in the mantle, the royal wreath and on the throne means spring, the flowering of nature and joy. An angel with a trumpet means wind, strength.


Movements on icons are minimized, the saints asas if frozen in one pose, but it is this static that has its meaning and emphasizes the vanity of being. Very often the apostles or saints are depicted with their hands raised - this is a sign of praying for peace, it is to these icons that they come to pray during conflicts. This is how the Virgin is depicted on the icon "The Unbreakable Wall" or, as it is also called, "Oranta".

If one arm is lifted with an open palm, this isa sign of obedience and obedience. Hands raised forward - prayer for help, please. Hands clinging to the chest are a heartfelt experience. It is in such a pose that the Virgin on the icon "Ostrabramska Mother of God" is depicted praying for happiness in marriage. The hand pressed to the cheek is a sign of sadness.

Our article What icons have you will get acquainted with the main types of icons and help you choose icons for your house.

What does the icon of the Mother of God signify?

The Mother of God has always been considered to be an intercessor andassistant. It is to her that they are treated with petitions and requests for healing, humility, intercession. The Virgin helps all, but especially women are revered by her.

There are so many images of the Virgin and you need to know which icon in which need to pray.

  • "The Iberian Mother of God" - the defender of the home. She is prayed to take off the crown of celibacy, during the time of adversity and about healing;
  • "Kazan Mother of God" should be in every family. It is this icon that the young couple is blessed. It protects from troubles, attacks, helps to get rid of vision problems, protects children;
  • "Vladimir's Mother of God" heals the raging and helps
    protect yourself from evil spirits. She is also prayed for the softening of enemies;
  • "Tikhvin Mother of God" - this icon is also called the "Guidebook". Helps during pregnancy and childbirth, very beneficial for children;
  • "Seven-sided." One of the most famous protective icons. You must have it in your house. She protects from evil people and takes trouble away from home. The seven swords denote the fullness of the suffering that the Virgin Mary suffered in the earthly life;
  • "Inexhaustible cup" - she is prayed for in deliverance from drunkenness and other addictions;
  • "The Virgin of Undying Color" - girls are addressed to her, who want to get married happily. Also this icon helps to preserve beauty and youth.

This is not a complete list of the icons of the Mother of God, our article. What icon of what to pray will tell about these and other icons in more detail.

What do the icons of saints mean?

Usually on the icon of the saint one can find a symbol,who will tell you how this saint became famous and earned the mercy of the Lord. For example, St. Peter on icons is often depicted with a key in his hand - this is a sign that he was left on earth by the governor of God and the founder of Christianity. Catholics consider Peter the first pope, and according to legend the last pope will also bear the name of Peter.

St. Panteleimon is always portrayed with a box of medicines. To this saint are turned in the healing of various ailments.


Xenia of St. Petersburg helps in infertility and various family needs. It is worth noting that the background of the icon is very often portrayed in St. Petersburg.

Icon of Sergius of Radonezh helps students andstudents. She is prayed for the gift of the mind and for help in taking exams. Often a saint is depicted with a scroll in his hand, but sometimes in his palm you can see a monastery that the saint founded during his lifetime.

But, perhaps, the most beloved revered saintThe Russian land is recognized by Saint Nicholas the Sinner. Praying to this saint can be in different needs, he grants intercession to higher powers. Especially it is revered by seafarers, fishermen, pilots, travelers and residents of the North.

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