And a couple of icons I have issues with:
Theotokos the eldress/gerontissa
Theotokos the abbess of Athos
I also have a problem with the Gerontissa
, also known as Abbess of Athos
, where the Mother of God is vested in a bishop's mantle. An abbot of archimandrite rank may wear a mantle similar to that of a bishop, but this mantle does not have the stripes, and the panels usually bear crosses, not the four Evangelists. By contrast, the mantle of an Orthodox abbess is plain, without the three horizontal stripes or the four rectangular panels.
When an abbess blesses, she arranges her fingers in the way one does when crossing oneself. The IC XC hand configuration (as shown in the Gerontissa
) is to be used only by male clergy of priestly rank and above. The Gerontissa
ascribes a rank to the Mother of God which is completely at odds with what the Church teaches about her. She is not, nor ever was, a priest, deacon, bishop or abbess.
The second work is more acceptable, as she is shown as a lay eldress (which she was, the Apostles sought and valued her advice and counsel) not as a cleric, and patron and protector of Athos. It would have been proper to show Christ somewhere, such as in the upper border of the icon.