Gallery Icon of the Mother of God – Burning bush

5. september 2017


The icon comes from Russia. It was written around the year 1800. The feast of this icon is celebrated on 17th of September, the day dedicated also to the Holy and Righteous Prophet Moses the God-seer.

The prototype (picture) of the Mother of God is linked to the scene from the Old Testament where in the book of Exodus it is written: “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. “ (Exodus 3:1-2)

In the same way as the flame did not touch the bush and the bush remained green, so the Most Holy Mother of God was not touched by sin. St. Ephraim of Syria / 306-373 /, a writer of psalms and Christian religious hymns, wrote that Mary, similarly to the thorny bush from the Second Book of Moses, was not burned by a flame. The purity of the Virgin was protected before, during and after she gave birth. This theme was used in the Early-Christian chants - Akathists - celebrating the Most Holy Mother of God - and on icons.

The presence of the angel corresponds to the event of the Annunciation. It is the most significant Old Testament picture of the Mother of God, who conceived without sin and gave birth to the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

The icon depicts the Mother of God with Jesus on her hands surrounded by heavenly spheres in two overlapping stars, each with four spikes, forming one eight-pointed star. This double star represents the eternity of God's glory and Parousia (second coming) of Jesus Christ. The blue and red flames of the star symbolize the two essences of Jesus Christ and also point to the physical and spiritual dimension of man and the God-created world.

There are the attributes of the evangelists in the four flames of the red star. An Angel, which is a symbol of the Evangelist Matthew, an Eagle, which represents the Evangelist Mark, a Lion depicting the evangelist John, and in the lower right corner we see a Taurus - the symbol of the Evangelist Luke.

In the upper point of the blue star there is a Seraphim, an angel with six wings, located. In the lower part, there is the angel of constant prayer. Other angels are a personification of natural forces. Spaces between the points of the star are filled with rounded shapes that resemble petals of a flower.

The entire area of the icon is filled with angels extolling the Mother of God. The angels displayed on the icon are the real tools in the hands of God's Power, to which all natural forces are subjected. The depiction of the angels is in accord with the Epistle to the Hebrews: “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.” (Hebrews, 1:7)

This type of icon was very widespread in Russian dwellings. People prayed to the Mother of God in the non-burning bush for protection from fire, lightning, from misfortunes caused by natural elements but also for miraculous healing.

The main idea of the icon is the Old Testament prophecy about the Virgin, from which God - the Word - was born, similarly to when God spoke to Moses through the burning bush.

The Icon of the Mother of God - The Burning bush is worshiped in memory of the revelation of God's name to Moses, in an ever-burning bush. It is a symbol of Mount Sinai. Virgin Mary's garment, which is in various shades of red and gold, gives the impression that it is dazzled by the fire of the bush, which forms a circle of flames around her. So is the fire of God's Love reflected in material things and His beauty shines from them because the perfect beauty comes from above.