Icon of the Mother of God, the “Enlightener of Minds”

This unusual icon comes from the Russian town of Rybinsk, in Yaroslavl province. The Mother of God and the Divine Child are wrapped in what appears to be a priest’s phelonion, and Angels are depicted on either side, holding lighted candles. Beneath the Virgin’s feet and on her head Cherubim are depicted with outstretched wings.The model for this Icon is a statue in the town of Loreto in Italy, which is wrapped in a similar covering.

The “Enlightener of minds” Icon (Подательница ума) reflects the deep faith of Orthodox Christians in the power of the All Holy Virgin to intercede before God and His Son to bestow both temporal and spiritual blessings. Foremost among these is enlightenment of the mind and heart through Divine Truth.

For this reason, parents whose children are slow learners, either in matters of the Faith or in secular knowledge, often turn to the Most Holy Theotokos and her Divine Child, Who is the fount of the loftiest wisdom and knowledge, praying for their children’s minds be strengthened and that they may retain what they are taught. People also entreat the Mother of God to help them overcome delusion and mental illness.

The Enlightener of Minds icon is commemorated on August 15.