The Virgin Mary: A Celebration of Our Faith: Session 5: Iconography and the Theotokos—Senior Grou

Theme Of Lesson:Iconography and the Theotokos
Sub-Theme: The Virigin Mary Gives Us Compassion and Protection


  • Sing the Hymn to the Theotokos and use it as a basis for "reading" the various icons.
  • Compare the different iconographic representations of the Theotokos.
  • Compare the different icons to praises of the Akathist which portray similar emotions

Liturgy, Feasts, Hymns

The Hymn to the Theotokos
It is truly fitting to bless you, O Theotokos,
ever-blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God.
More honorable than the Cherubim,
and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim:
without defilement you gave birth to God the Word -
true Theotokos,we magnify you!


  • Copy verses from the Akathist to the Virgin Mary and distribute on strips of paper to small groups. Assign an icon to each group and have them choose verses from the Akathist that they believe relate to this particular icon. After discussing, they will present the icon and the verses to the rest of the class.


  • A copy of the icons will be included, as well as the section from The Icon Book.

Teacher’s Notes & Discussion-Starter Questions:

  • The five icons emphasized may include the Hodigitira or Pointer of the Way; The Elouesa or Loving Kindness (Compassion); the Oranta and the Oranta of the Sign; and the Protectress. Additionally, reading the basic narration of any Theotokos icon is important to teach the children.
  • It would be wonderful if on this day, we could give each camper a laminated small icon of the Theotokos with the hymn on the back.
  • Older students can also relate this Hymn to the Theotokos (From the St. Basil Liturgy) to the various images: “All of creation rejoices in you, O Full of Grace, the assembly of Angels and the race of men. O Sanctified Temple and Rational Paradise! O Glory of Virgins! From you, God was incarnate and became a child, our God before the ages. He made your body into a throne, and your womb He made more spacious than the heavens. All of creation rejoices in you, O Full of Grace! Glory to you!”