- May 13, 2008
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It's certainly not canonical.Nephi said:So would this be considered schlock? It's a "Young Virgin Mary."
The title of this image is Mother of God at three years of age. Orthodox tradition celebrates the three-year-old child of Joachim and Anna entering the Temple, including the Holy of Holies, to be prepared for the awesome and incomprehensible task of conceiving and bearing the Son of God.
However, the following should be considered:
The young Virgin is consistently shown in Orthodox icons, including in icons of the Entry into the Temple, as a miniature adult, in a blue tunic covered by a red maphorion (cloak) bearing the three stars of perpetual virginity. There are many icons of her nativity which show her, newborn, in her crib, not as a babe in swaddling-clothes, which is, in itself, quite proper, but dressed in a maphorion, and bearing the three stars of perpetual virginity. This is quite consistent with the iconographic and hymnographic principle where linear time is not necessarily followed; the liturgical “today”, as it were, as well as being consistent with the hymnography and dogma of the Church.
By contrast, the portrayal of a bare-headed, sweet little girl in a blue tunic holding lilies is an image not from Orthodox tradition, but a saccharine, sentimental image from elsewhere, an attempt to make the Virgin “easier to relate to”. This sentimentalizing and humanizing tendency is frequently seen in western religious art. The intention is honourable, but it can result in an unfortunate “dumbing down” of the holy and sacred. Iconography concerns itself with what has been revealed, and with helping us conform ourselves to the will of God, not with pious sentiment or "what feels right".