Round rather than the usual rectangle, the shape of this icon recalls the endless love between God and humanity. God seen in the human form of the Child Jesus, and humanity, represented by the Virgin Mary. Mother and Child wear expressions of deepest compassion and tenderness as they contemplate the process of redemption that they have begun together.
This simple and elegant icon of the Virgin and Child is patterned after a very famous original, painted in 12th century Constantinople, and referred to by many names; “The Virgin of Tenderness," “The Soul of Russia," and most frequently, “Our Lady of Vladimir." The optional memorial of Our Lady under this title is celebrated on May 21.