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Theotokos "Orans" (Catacombs) Icon - T197

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This beautiful fresco is from the Coemeterium Maius catacombs and dates to the mid-4th century.

The blessed Virgin holds Christ in her lap and raises her hands in the "Orans" posture of prayer, which is very common in catacomb iconography. In areas where Christians were buried, the departed were often depicted on walls and ceilings near their tombs, in postures of prayer, illustrating their movement from the Church on earth to the eternal Church in heaven.

Interestingly, they are dressed in contemporary Roman clothing and hairstyles, rather than the Middle Eastern robes that would later become the standard in iconography.

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