Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Eleusa icon

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The Eleusa (or Eleousa) (Greek: Ἐλεούσαtenderness or showing mercy) is a type of depiction of the Virgin Mary in icons in which the infant Jesus Christ is nestled against her cheek. In the Western church the type is often known as the Virgin of Tenderness.


Such icons have been venerated in the Eastern Church for centuries. Similar types of depictions are also found in Madonna paintings in the Western Church where they are called the Madonna Eleusa, or Virgin of Tenderness. By the 19th century examples such as Lady of refuge (e.g. by Luigi Crosio) were widespread and they were also used in retablos in Mexican art.

In Eastern Orthodoxy the term Panagia Eleousa is often used. The Theotokos of Vladimir and Theotokos of Pochayiv are well-known examples of this type of icon. Eleusa is also used as epithet for describing and praising the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) in the Eastern Orthodox tradition.

While the Eastern Church does not venerate three-dimensional objects, Eleusa-style reliefs and sculptures, as well as icons, have also been used in the Western Church.

The Pelagonitissa is a variant in which the infant Jesus makes an abrupt movement.


Eleusa icon Wikipedia

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