Mary, Mother of Priests Icon
Besides Christ, no other subject has been more depicted in iconography than Mary, the Theotokos, Greek for “Mother of God,” literally “God-Bearer.” Priests look to Mary, Mother of Priests as the perfect model for their love of Christ, invoking her as Mother of the Eternal Priest, and as Protectress of their ministry.
In this icon, Mary is shown wearing a veil typical of Jewish women of the period, symbolic of humility and piety. The veil is red, the color of divinity, nobility, and saintliness in Byzantine art. The garments under the veil and robe are green, the color of life, symbolizing earth, hope, and Mary’s humanity.
The letters in the upper left and right corners, “MP OY,” are an abbreviation of the Greek: Mater Theos – the Mother of God. Near Mary’s head on the left and right are the words “Marie” and “Mère Des Prêtres,” translated as “Mary” and “Mother of Priests” in French.
Mary is holding a priest’s white stole, a liturgical vestment and symbol of the yoke of service, here adorned with three crosses for the Trinity. Mary, Mother of Priests aids her priestly sons in living chastely and growing in charity, wisdom, and fortitude.