The beautiful icon of Our Lady of Vladivostok was painted in 1993 by Fr. Damien Higgins of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Redwood Valley, California. The icon was created in response to a request by Fr. Myron Effing, CJD.
Fr. Damien painted the icon on wood from church pews taken from the oldest Roman Catholic Church in northern California—St. Mary’s in Lakeport. It is modeled after a prototype from the Cretan School of Iconography in the 14th century.
Explanation of the Icon
The Mother of God is seated and is solemnly presenting her Son. She is cloaked in a deep red robe that symbolizes the participation in the divine mystery of incarnation. Beneath her cloak is a blue garment indicating the glorious nature of the relationship with her Divine Son. Christ is dressed in white and gold—colors of heavenly glory and eternal light.
The throne is green, reflecting both the color of the earth and the color used for Pentecost in the Slavic tradition. The letters surrounding the figures indicate the Mother of God, the Theotokos, and Jesus Christ. Without these names, the icon would not be authentic.
Jesus is holding a piece of bread, signifying that He is the Bread of Life. Across the top of the icon are the words, “Most Holy Mother of God of Vladivostok.”
Along the bottom of the frame are shapes representing the mountains of Vladivostok, with ocean waves flowing between them.
In 1997, the original icon of Our Lady of Vladivostok was placed inside the church. It was later blessed by Bishop Joseph Werth, SJ. The icon was removed for safekeeping during periods of building renovation, but today hangs prominently in the restored church.
Expenses associated with the icon’s creation were covered by Judge Donald and Mrs. Angela Wozniak of St. Paul, Minnesota, in honor of his Orthodox parents, George and Anna Wozniak. A more complete explanation of the icon and its creation is given in the May 1, 2006 issue (Number 69) of the Vladivostok Sunrise newsletter.