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Virgin Mary "Three Handed", Orthodox Christian Icon

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Virgin Mary "Three Handed", Orthodox Christian Icon
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Size: 8 3/4" x 7 1/4"

This icon of the Virgin Mary with Three Hands is closely associated with St John of Damascus, a staunch defender of the use of icons in the Church.

There are two traditions on the origin of the "third" hand on the icon. One tradition holds St John had a hand made out of silver that he attached to the icon. This is the origin of the tradition of attaching silver body parts to icons in Greece in either petition for or to give thanks for a healing. This tradition is also the origin of the Spanish Migros. The other tradition is he wrote (painted) the icon with a third hand.

The letters "MP" and "O (Phi) Y" on either side is the Greek abbreviation for Mary as the "Mother of God." The "stars" on her head and shoulders represent Mary's virginity.

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