The origins of this icon are unknown, but it is certainly ancient. Throughout the centuries, in the pain of childbirth women have found immense comfort in the intercessions of the Theotokos, who gave birth to Our Lord Jesus Christ. The icon is especially venerated by expectant mothers hoping for a successful delivery, although many childless mothers can also attest to the icon's holy power in helping them to conceive. Women throughout the world, for many ages, have run to the Theotokos "the Helper in Childbirth" for her powerful prayers.
The blessed Virgin holds up her hands in the orans position of prayer. Her face reflects her inner spirit of dispassion as she gives birth to Christ God painlessly. Unusually, her head is uncovered, perhaps emphasizing the special place this icon has for women. The Lord is shown as coming forth from her womb. His hand is in the position of the Byzantine blessing, His fingers making the letters ICXC, "Jesus Christ".
The feast day of this icon is, appropriately, December 26, the day after Christmas, the feast of the Synaxis of the Mother of God.
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