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The rare icons of the Virgin Mary of Mount Athos

There are dozens of forms of address for the Virgin Mary and even more icons that depict her beloved image which symbolizes motherhood, protection, care, family, goodness and absolute and unnegotiable love. Each icon of the Virgin Mary, from the oldest and rarest to the most "humble", has its own emotional value. However, some icons of the Virgin Mary are inextricably linked to the Christian Orthodox tradition. Some of these are kept in monasteries of Mount Athos and are classified as "rare" for their art and their history. 

In the Central Church of the Protaton lies the famous icon "AxionEstin", where according to the tradition an "unknown" monk chanted in front of the icon a hitherto unknown hymn which he engraved on a stone plate. The icon was transferred to the Protaton, in the sanctuary, behind the altar, where it is kept until today. When the chanter of the palace, the well-known at that time Konstantinos Koukouzelis, visited Mount Athos, he fell asleep in front of the icon that later on took the name "Icon of the Virgin Mary Koukouzelissa", and saw in his sleep that the Virgin Mary motivated him to continue chanting, while she would continue to protect him. 

The Vatopedi monastery is adorned by the PanagiaEssfagmeni (Slaughtered Virgin Mary), which was "injured" by mistake from a deacon and remained “slashed", the PanagiaVimatarissa or Ktitorissa that remained in a well for 70 years and miraculously appeared "by herself", the PanagiaAntifonitria, which spoke and forbade the daughter of Theodosius the Great to enter the temple, the PanagiaElaiovrytissa who filled the jars with oil, wheat and wine. The icon that became known as "Akathist" or PanagiaMyrovlytissa, gave courage to the Patriarch Sergius and those who guarded the “Reigning city” (Constantinople) during the attack of the Avars and is kept in the Dionysius Monastery. 

FoveraProstasia (Awesome Protection) at Koutloumousiou Monastery and PanagiatisGerontissas (Virgin Mary of the old woman) at the Pantocrator monastery stand out for their beauty, the Gorgoepikoos (the one who responds rapidly to the requests) who blinded temporarily the one who laid the table of the monastery because he was smoking it and is kept at the Dochiariou monastery and the Glykofiloussa (Sweet Kissing) was found by miracle at a beach close to the Philotheou monastery, the PanagiaOdigitria (Leading) who went alone three times from the Vatopedi monastery to the Xenophon Church where it is kept and the Galaktotrophousa who is depicted breastfeeding and is kept at the Grigoriou monastery, complement some of the rare icons of the Virgin Mary that are reproduced by the craftsmen of Iconotechniki, reminding us of the tradition and the beauty that are inextricably linked to the image of the Virgin Mary.
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