Among the commonest search terms which find me are those referring to Father Pefkis, Mount Athos and icons. One searched for “ikonen”, so perhaps I should have a German translation. For that, there is Babel fish.

Here are my icons. If anyone can tell me the translation of the Greek in the Madonna, I would be grateful.

The colours of the robes

Jesus, in the middle, wears red, with a gold stripe, and the blue cloak over one shoulder; the Holy Spirit on his left wears blue, part covered with gold; and the Father on his left wears a blue shirt almost entirely covered with a gold cloak.

Below, Jesus adult wears the same, but as a child wears gold, with two green stripes; Mary wears black, with a gold edging and green at her sleeve.

Red is Jesus’ humanity, blue his divinity so far as humans may perceive it. Gold is the divinity of the Father, divine light beyond perception. Black depicts dying to worldly life. Green is the colour of natural, living things.

Or not. There may be other explanations: tell me yours.




And these are my posts about icons:

Andrei Rublev
Saint Anna

This is the most comprehensive site I have found: icons explained

16 thoughts on “Icons

  1. Great pix and link. I am somewhat obsessed with patron saints and the icons have such rich symbolic history. I have a pic similar to the bottom one on my shrine wall with Buddha, Ganesh, etc.. is so weird how baby Jesus is drawn as an adult in these images.


    • I think it is closest to Our Lady of the Don, whose sleeve is very similar, as well as the pose. It is comparatively unusual in icons for Jesus to be on Mary’s right. Fr. Pefkis has edited out Jesus’ left hand, so he looks more as if he is embracing his mother.

      Thank you for visiting. You are right that it is beautiful.


  2. You asked if someone could translate the words on the Madonna icon so I wrote a friend of mine, my writing mentor who is Greek, and she sent this: The initials on the left are the old style Greek letters. They stand for Ieesous Christos, Jesus Christ.

    The word to the right of the virgin is the feminine form of “The Leader.” in other words: She who leads, odheeyitria. The syllable in bold is where the accent falls in the Greek.

    And there you have it! Her website is here: http://www.katerinawhitley.net/


    • Welcome, Craftymadre. It is lovely to have you here.

      The phrase on the first is transliterated as “hagia trias”, holy trinity. It is the Holy Trinity, represented as the three angels who visited Abraham at Mamre, before visiting Sodom. I will edit the text.


  3. Beautiful icons. You just mixed up the colors on Christ’s robes: blue is actually humanity and red is divinity (the idea being that someone divine put on humanity, and that’s why the red one is on top).

    That color scheme seems contrary to intuition, and I’m not quite sure why the Eastern Christian fathers and mothers did it that way, but that’s just what it is.


    • Welcome, and thank you for commenting- and thank you for introducing me to the Nativity Sermon of St John Chrysostom.

      I got those colours from a book, of course, saying that red is human, blue divine by the Hodigitria Mother of God, in a red robe with a blue lining, with Christ in a golden robe over a white sark. Colours perhaps vary. Red for humanity would make sense, given that the Holy Spirit on our right is in blue and green, and the Father in blue almost covered by gold.


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