L’ICONA DEL ROVETO ARDENTE: PER I RUSSI LA PROTEZIONE DELLA CASA DAL FUOCO

Icon of the Virgin called the “Unburnt Bush” (Russian: Neopalimaia Kupina). This icon is the ancient image of Mother of God. One of the earliest icons with the epithet Unburnt Bush was at the Annunciation Cathedral in Moscow. According to oral tradition it was brought to Moscow by a Palestinian monk in 1390.
There are many different variations of this icon, but all depict the Mother of God holding the Christ Child in Her left arm and a ladder in Her right hand. This illustration from a proris dated 1888 from an icon of 11th century. Typically, the Mother and Child are enclosed within a fiery red circle filled with six-winged seraphim at the center of the two stars. The half-length image of the Mother of God in this composition is enclosed inside two-pointed stars formed of two congruent rhombi with acute angels and concave sides. The Mother of God support the Infant Christ with one hand and in the other She holds a ladder and a pillar inside which is depicted Christ crowned and robed as a bishop – the great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God. Sometimes the Mother of God is represented with a staff- a Symbol of the Savior – in her hand. In other compositions typical of this icon the Mother of God is depicted in front of a burning bush.

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In the eight petals against which the red and blue stars are set, angels in the service of the Lord are depicted, representing the virtues and elemental powers. They are: “The Spirit of Wisdom, the angel who kindles fire;” “The Spirit of Understanding, angel of the voice;” “The angel of Thunder and Lightning, who reveals the second coming of Christ;” “The Angel of Rainbows and Clouds;” “The Angel of Frost and Ice;” “The Angel of Scorching.”
At the upper left Moses sees the bush that burns but is not consumed by the fire (Exod. 3.2). In the top right corner is Moses’ vision of the burning bush. In other compositions the upper right corner depicts a seraph purifying Isaiah’s lips with a coal taken from the altar (Isa. 6.5-7). In the lower left corner is Ezekiel gazing upon the gate shut to the East (Ezek. 44.1-3). At the lower right several stages of Jacob’s dream of the ladder bridging earth to heaven and his struggle with the angel are depicted (Gen. 28.12-17). The particular veneration of this icon in the Russian Church began in 1680. This icon popularly kept as a form of fire protection; having one, it was believed, would prevent your home from being consumed by fire.

(da Russian modern Orthodox icons)