|Origin of Icon
The Panagia Philanthropini icon is of the type "Kyriotissa" * which means "Enthroned" or "She who reigns in Majesty". The "Kyriotissa" is the first representation of the Mother of God following the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (Asia-minor) in 431.
The "Kyriotissa" is the oldest icon type we know, the type that came into being first. That was at the start of the 4th century. Emperor Constantin had come to power of the Roman Empire and a few years later converted to Christianity. Next, in 380 A.D., he made Christianity the State religion following which the Church entered an era of peace. It is then that an esthetic creation was setting off that would determine art for the next centuries.
A Third Ecumenical Council is held in Ephesus in 431, at which the Virgin Mary is proclaimed : Mother of God. One starts to represent the Mother of God sitting solemnly on the throne with the divine Child sitting on her lap : The Mother of God "Kyriotissa".
There is much implied in the Virgin Mary being proclaimed the Mother of God. In fact, the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (1), (2) was called to convene in order to deal with the erroneous doctrine of Nestorius, then Bishop of Constantinople, concerning the two natures of Christ, his Godly nature and his Human nature. The above reference links give a detailed account of this both in substance and procedure.
* In the icon of the Mother of God Kyriotissa, as it is usually shown, the Mother holds her Son by his left shoulder, with her left hand. See the icon of the Mother of God Kyriotissa (also known as the Mother of God Enthroned) of Andreas Ritzos to the right.
In the Panagia Philanthropini icon, the positions of the Mother's hands is reversed. The cloth the Mother holds with her left thumb is a further variant. One might guess that the cloth alludes to the medical care provided by the Panagia Philanthropini Center.
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| The Mother of God Enthroned ("Kyriotissa").
By Andreas Ritzos, Patmos
Monastery, Greece, 2nd half 15th c.
Courtesy Dr. Oleg Bychkov, St. Bonaventure University, NY. Return Top of Page 02002