Russian icon of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple, XIX century
Dimensions: 31 x 26.5 cm
On the icon, one of the Twelve Feast days, the consecration of the Virgin Mary is shown to God by the vow of Her parents, the holy and righteous Joachim and Anna. This solemn event occurred when Mary was three years old. The Parents led their daughter to the temple, where she was met by virgin maidens with lighted lamps. The compositionally semantic center of the icon is shifted to the right, where the high priest leans towards the small figure of the Virgin. According to the Tradition of the Church, this is the righteous Zechariah, the future father of St. John the Baptist. Despite the small size of the Virgin, she is dressed in a maforium (a long woman’s veil, boards, going down from head to floor) – the traditional women’s clothing of married women. On the left, the righteous Joachim and Anna bow in prayerful obeisance, and behind them the virgin girls are depicted. Thus the high priest, the parents, and the virgins all bow before the One who is destined to become the Mother of the Savior of mankind. In the right upper corner of the icon there is a sitting Holy Mother of God, to whom the angel of God brings Bread of Heaven. A special role in the plot is played by the Jerusalem temple with open gates in the background. The theme of the temple in the Feast of the Introduction refers to the theme of the Church as the Body of Christ.