Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Korsun Mother of God

The Korsun Mother of God is of the type called
Glykophilousa ~ Sweet Kissing ~
the image
reduced to the faces of
Jesus and Mary
in an intensity of love,
as mothers do in covering
their children
with kisses and caresses.

Cropped below the shoulder
everything is gazes and the
gathering up of four hands

The argument falls apart that icons are severe
as the features of the Korsun Theotokos and her Son,
so humanly tender,
have become known and much-loved beyond
the borders of Byzantium.

While the Holy Mother
holds the Infant
with two hands ~
bringing him to her heart ~
she also holds him in her eyes.
The gaze itself, a prayer.

The Holy Child holds onto his mother's maphorion,
great folds echoing
ripples in water,
fronds of a palm,
ribs of a shell ~
the scallop producing a pearl very rare.

In her gaze has
Mary just heard the prophecy of Holy Simeon,
"And a sword of sorrow will pierce your soul also," (Luke 2:35)?
Where does she look?
At her Child?
At you?
At me?

Or does she look through us,
to what is beyond ~ above,
into the future?
Gaze at her - receive her love.
Gaze at her - give her your love.

The star above her forehead is one of three;
two  concealed in the shoulder-folds of the maphorion.
God has drawn her in
to live in the folds of the Trinitarian life.

Beneath her veil  the cap of a married Syrian woman.
A bowl  ~ a dome of stars
covering her divine Son.
Oh, pray for poor Syria and her
ancient Christianity
that the dome would open up
the land and living things,
healing for
churches, farms and homes.

The forehead of the Child is large
containing the thoughts of God
for an eternity,
and the names of all the countries
and our names and faces.
The knowledge of our existence ~
and the Child's face shines.

His robe is woven in gold
Her mantle of Blood-Earth
envelops him.

The interplay of hands.
A Sonata for Four Hands, we say.
Here, the work of salvation for four hands.

We think we already know the contents of
his teaching contained in the rolled scroll.
The hardest part ~ the little bit about forgiving ~
to be born from above without hatred.

Gandhi was fascinated
with the non-violent teachings of Jesus.
but  never baptized a Christian:
his Indian brothers and sisters
oppressed by enslaving,
British colonizers
who claimed to follow Jesus.
Colonizers take more than they give.

The Korsun Theotokos
was painted by Luke the Evangelist
and kept at Ephesus until 988
when Prince Vladimir transferred
a copy to Holy Russia.
Along the way it passed through Korsun
where the people asked if it might
stay with them for a year.
The icon thereafter being called
the Korsun Mother of God.

Echoing the plea of that populace ~
'Stay with us' might become our own prayer
before the Holy Icon.

But first to remember that a terrible battle took place
at Korsun during the Second World War between
Russian and German soldiers.
Called a slaughter,
the hands of those raised in surrender
were lopped off.

And as we gaze at the soft smile of the Mother of God
ponder that
in the 1950's  people smiled on average
of fifty times a day.
Now it is said that people smile only
fifteen times a day:
"I work so hard because
I want  my children to have all the things
I never had growing up." Meanwhile ~ to forfeit smiling?

Stay with us, Korsun Mother of God,
empowering forgiveness
in your atmosphere of peace
in your smile
in the restoration of hope
tenderize hearts.

Stay with us, Korsun Mother of God,
to our awakening
no more slaughter
blessing the work of our hands
opening souls to light
hide me in your maphorion.

Stay with us, Korsun Mother of  God,
as I unroll your Son's scroll
see me in your gazing.
weave me a robe of gold
Oh that we would know
we are loved like this!

1 comment:

  1. I have always been drawn to this painting. This blog post is really beautiful and inspiring. Thank you.