Mother of Perpetual Help Poster
Our Lady of Perpetual Help (or of Succour) or Our Mother of Perpetual Help is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, associated with a Byzantine icon of the same name, said to be 13th or 14th century, but perhaps 15th century. The icon has been in Rome since at least the late 15th century. In the Eastern Orthodox Church this iconography is known as the Theotokos of the Passion. The image is very popular among Catholics in particular, and has been much copied and reproduced. Reproductions are sometimes displayed in homes or elsewhere. Catholics have, for centuries, prayed to the Blessed Virgin that she intercede on their behalf with Christ. Under this title, she has been the patron saint of Haiti since the late 19th century. On the current Roman Catholic calendar of saints Our Lady of Perpetual Help is commemorated on June 27. The icon depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary wearing a dress of dark red with a blue mantle and veil. On the left side is the Archangel Michael, carrying the lance and sponge of the crucifixion of Jesus. On the right is the Archangel Gabriel carrying a 3-bar cross and nails. This type of icon is a later type of Hodegetria composition, where Mary is pointing to her Son, known as a Theotokos of the Passion. The Christ-child has been alarmed by a pre-sentiment of his passion, and has run to his mother for comfort. The facial expression of the Virgin Mary is solemn and is looking directly at the viewer instead of her son. Jesus is portrayed clinging to his mother with a dangling sandal. The Greek initials on top read Mother of God, Michael Archangel, Gabriel Archangel, and Jesus Christ, respectively. The icon is painted with a gold background on a walnut panel, and may have been painted in Crete, then ruled by the Republic of Venice. The Cretan School was the source of the many icons imported into Europe from the late Middle Ages through the Renaissance. The icon was cleaned and restored in 1866 and again in 1940.