Church Mother of God Peribleptos
PlatyteraThe icon is often known by its Greek name of Platytera Ton Ouranon, or simply, Platytera. It is found in most Orthodox churches in an amazingly prominent position — high in the apse — and is often of such a scale that it overwhelms and overshadows in emphasis all other icons. This can present a rather odd first impression especially to a non-Orthodox visitor. Even to Orthodox it may present a bit of a dilemma. How is it that in a Christian church, a place where life centers around Christ, an image of His mother Mary would appear to have dominance? In reality there is an image of Christ, as Almighty, in a place of preeminence, in the honored position of the ceiling [or the dome, if the church building has one]. Secondly, Christ is found in the Platytera at bull’s eye center on Mary’s lap.
This shows a balance in the historical Church’s view of the place and role of Mary. She is essential and significant by her relationship to Christ. Christ could not have been born without her free consent. She is made significant by the One she bore. She provides the throne. She is in the background. These characteristics reveal her humility, and oddly enough the icon in its way glorifies her because of it.
raising of Lazarus
People and Places