Painted icon Our Lady of the Milk
Hand painted icon, Our Lady of the Milk, from Romania. size 14X18 cm.
Hand painted icon, from Romania. size 14X18 cm.
Nursing Mother of God The Marian icons are divided into groups, commonly called types. The Nursing type (in Greek Galaktotrophousa), is a Marian representation that has known great diffusion over the centuries. The type, already attested in the catacombs and in Egypt, is known in the West with the name of Maria Lactans. In this icon, Mary holds the child on her breast, usually on her left arm, while with her right hand she offers him her bare breast. The type is directly inspired by the Gospel episode reported by Luke, "who puts the cry of admiration into the mouth of a woman of the people:" Blessed is the womb that brought you and the breast from which you took the milk, (L 11, 27) *. The homage is addressed in the first place to Jesus, and indirectly to the Mother. For this reason the passage was received by the Church which reads it in all the feasts of Mary. The patristic and liturgical texts often stop on the episode , seeing in the maternal function of breastfeeding the tangible sign of the reality of the Incarnation. St. John Damascus ((749), the last great Father of the Greek Church, exclaims: "You have become, in reality, more precious than any creature. From you only the Creator has inherited the first fruits of our nature, his flesh from your flesh, the blood from your blood: God has sucked the milk from your breasts, and your lips have touched the lips of God. .