Pilgrim Virgin Icon of Our Lady of Fatima
The Pilgrim Virgin Icon of Our Lady of Fatima is the first icon commissioned by the World Apostolate of Fatima’s Byzantine Division to represent the message of Fatima to the East. It is a unique icon inspired by a 1950’s print of Our Lady of Fatima from Fordham University’s Russian Studies Department. The icon itself removes the imagery of the children and the large populations surrounding Our Lady in the previous image and instead focuses primarily on Our Lady. This is the same emphasis taken from the inspired image at Our Lady of Fatima Russian Catholic Church in San Francisco.
In both the image from San Francisco, as well as the Pilgrim Virgin Icon, one can see the outward hands of supplication, instead of hands folded in prayer. This is a common gesture of Our Lady in Eastern icons, most similar to the Icon of the Protection of the Theotokos (Prokova – October 1, 911 apparition), where she held her hands open in prayer with her mantle over the city of Constantinople. Our Lady during one of the apparitions at Fatima also opened her arms and held her rosary towards the children. The striking difference in the Pilgrim Virgin Icon as compared to the other two images is that the rosary is held by both hands of Our Lady, presenting it to the world. In many ways, the rosary replaces the mantle as the new protection for the world.
The rosary itself is finished in 24 carat gold, with special emphasis given by the artist to the crucifix. During the apparitions, the children remarked how beautiful and illuminating the crucifix was from the rosary that was in Our Lady’s hands. The remaining parts of the rosary is also finished in 24 carat gold with such minute detail to also include her Immaculate Heart surrounded by thorns in the center piece, individual beads equaling a full rosary and even articulate detail of the links connecting each bead.
The most striking characteristic of this image and its most powerful inspiration is its sister image, the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima. The face of the Our Lady on the icon was inspired and replicated to represent the statue’s face. The artist masterfully captured the essence of the statue carved by Jose Thedim and placed it within the face of the icon. This is the most unique aspect of the Pilgrim Virgin Icon of our Lady of Fatima in that it becomes the icon version of the statue itself.
Surrounding Our Lady’s beautiful face is a gold finished halo with the twelve stars representing the twelve apostles. Above her is the image of her Son, Jesus Christ, who looking down from Heaven, blessing His mother and the message of Fatima. As in all icons, Christ’s background is gold representing his place in heaven, while Mary’s background is blue representing her appearance on earth.
The overall image of Our Lady is done in classic Eastern Iconography, with the Byzantine folds of her gown and mantle. Her flowing gown and mantle are all also edged in 24 carat gold. In addition to this, is depicted the Star of David at her feet, as well as the globe of the world around her neck. Both are finished in 24 carat gold and capture the same distinguishing features as found in her apparition and the statue.
Surrounding the icon is the classic Eastern way of story-telling that is found so perfectly in icons. Without need of accurate depictions of size, the theology of the icon is able to portray important symbols regarding its mission and story. Mary, the Theotokos, is the central figure and message of the icon, so she naturally overtakes the presence found in the icon, but if one looks deeply, there are a variety of messages found within the icon.
First, one can see two churches on each side of Our Lady. The first church, St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, is found to the West of Our Lady, while to the East of Our Lady is the church, Hagia Sophia. Both represent the entire Church, the East and West, and how the divisions caused by men have injured Our Lord and Lady regarding the division of Christ’s Church. The rosary is placed hovering above both East and West, emphasizing unity and showing that the rosary is the prayer Our Lady intends for the entire Church.
Within the mountains, in the West, one can see the Portuguese Cork Tree, this symbol of where the 2nd angel apparition took place in 1916, thereby representing the role Portugal played in the message of Fatima, while in the Eastern mountains, is a Weeping Willow tree, the same tree Our Lady appeared near in her pre-Fatima apparitions in Ukraine May 12, 1914. This tree represents the role Ukraine and the East played in the message of Fatima and the importance of the rosary for the East.
Above the mountains, one can also see a golden globe that seems to dance and swirl through the sky. This image represents the Great Miracle of the Sun, which occurred October 13, 1917, where the sun dashed down upon the people at Fatima as final proof that the Theotokos did indeed appear to the three children at Fatima.
Finally, below our Lady’s feet is the Holm Oak Tree she appeared on in 1917. Within the tree are three white doves. This imagery portrays the miracle of the doves where three doves represent the Trinity. The miracle of doves occurred December 5, 1946 in Portugal.
The mission of the Pilgrim Virgin State of Our Lady of Fatima is to bring the Fatima message to the East but also to seek reunification between East and West and restore unity to the centuries long schism between the apostolic sister churches of the Catholic and Orthodox world.
It is also, as its sister image the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, inspired to bring the Fatima message to all peoples throughout the world.
The Pilgrim Virgin Icon of Our Lady of Fatima was painted by Vivian Imbrulia in 2018 at the request of the Byzantine Chapter of the World Apostolate of Fatima to become an ambassador to the East. The Icon was consecrated and blessed by Bishop Bohdan Danylo of the Ukrainian Eparchy of St. Josaphat, Parma, OH March 4, 2018 – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The Icon was commission by Fr. Lubomyr Zhybak, pastor Holy Trinity Ukrainian Byzantine Church, Youngstown, OH on May 13, 2018, the 101 Anniversary of the Fatima Apparitions. There the Icon was greeted by the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima where the sister images exchanged graces to be shared with the world.
At Fatima Our Lady asked us to:
1. Pray the rosary everyday
2. Wear her brown scapular
3. Offer up your daily duties
4. Do the 5 first Saturdays of Reparation
**If you are interested in this icon visiting your parish contact Katie Moren at
Pilgrim Virgin Icon of Our Lady of Fatima (22x26 24 Gold) to have this icon visit your church email Katie Morin at email@example.com