Softener of Evil Hearts Icon

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Ukraine

 

Materials: lime board, levkas, egg tempera, gold leaf 23K

The Softener of Evil Hearts icon is also called the Prophecy of Simon (or Simons Prophecy) since St Symeon said to Mary, upon the presentation of Our Lord in the temple:

"Behold, this child is set for the falling and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sin which shall be spoken against. Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

The Theotokos is depicted in this icon with her heart pierced by seven swords; a symbolic number possibly indicating the the fullness and boundless sorrow, pain and "sickness of heart" that would have been experienced by the Mother of God at His crucifixion. Three of the swords enter her heart from the left, three swords enter from the right and one sword from underneath. This icon is very similar to the Seven Swords icon and they differ only in the arrangement of the swords. The “Softener of Evil Hearts” icon is commemorated on the Sunday of All Saints, although other references commemorate it February 2 / February 15.

 

8x10" recessed.