Icon Akimov 102.235 «The Mother of God Icon «The Unburnt Bush»
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"The name of the Russia-revered icon of the Mother of God “The Unburnt Bush” originates from the Old Testament story of Moses to whom an angel of God appeared on Mount Sinai in the midst of a thorn bush which ""was burning, yet it was not consumed."" Moses came to the bush and heard the voice of God ordering him to take off his shoes, since he had been standing on the sainted place. Church interpreted the Unburnt Bush and the associated events as prefiguration of Jesus Christ being miraculously conceived and born. Remaining a Virgin Mary was with child of God and allied Herself with fire deity of Him without singeing Herself like the Unburnt Bush.
In the 4th century a monastery has been built on the scene by St. Helen, the Empress, that is standing there until now. There one can see a miraculous bush that is 3.5 thousand of years old as well as the first icons of the Mother of God “The Unburnt Bush.” The Virgin Mary is depicted in a red medallion in the midst of burning thorn bush. The first service to the icon had been also composed in the monastery of Sinai, as well as it became a custom here to conduct it during severe thunderstorms.
It was therefrom that in 1390 the first image of “The Unburnt Bush” was taken to Moscow by Palestinian monks. According to the legend the icon was painted on a piece of rock whereon God had appeared before Moses. The sacred object resided in the altar of Kremlin Annunciation Cathedral, and it was noticed that it helps against flamy scorching. For a wooden town it was a great egis. The image of “The Unburnt Bush” became highly revered after several wonders, when the blocks served round with the icon remained unaffected with fire. The sacred object of Sinai was lost but it was most likely similar to its ancient prototypes. The subject was reconsidered by Russian icon painters in the latter half of 16th century. It was then that a familiar picture of two overlapping diamonds that form an eight pointed star with the half-length image of the Mother of God holding Infant Christ, as a center.
On Russian icon a red diamond represents fire, green one representing the bush. The Mother of God is shown holding a ladder, often supplemented with a door and a hill. Those are the Theotokos symbols saying that for everyone She became the ladder to connect Heavens with the earth; the door for God to come down to the earth; the hill to lift all the creatures to the God. On the small icon obverse there are words of glorification of the Theotokos as “The Unburnt Bush”: “We name You, the Mother of God, the Chamber, and the Door, and the Igniform Throne, and the Impenetrable Hill, and the Unburnt Bush.”
The icon is revered not only as a fire defender. “The Unburnt Bush” is also prayed for protection against lightning burn, for healing of soul scorching passions, of nasty, fever heat attended illnesses."
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