Joy of All Who Sorrow
The design of this icon depicts the Theotokos, a most beautiful blossom of heaven, standing among the flowers of paradise. Her Son is visible above her in the clouds, the King of heaven and earth. Along both sides of the icon, framing the Mother of God, are suppliants (us), asking for her intercession. She stands with her arms spread open and her head tilted as if listening. The tenderness and kindness of a loving mother are evident in her face. She stands in paradise and yet among us.
The theology in this icon depicts the Theotokos as also being our mother, who feels our pain. It is believed, by Orthodox Christians, that she intercedes for us, bringing our pain into her Son’s presence. She is praying our prayers with love, bringing our needs into the unique relationship that a mother shares with her children. She is our joy, because in her love she hears us. Her unceasing intercession and her limitless love help heal our sorrows.