Tenderness Icon of the Mother of God | Inspiration of St Seraphim
On January 2nd, 1833 the great ascetic, Christian mystic, wonder-worker and spiritual Saint Seraphim of Sarov, was found dead in his small cabin in the woods surrounding the Sarov Monastery, Russia. He was found kneeling in prayer before an icon of the Mother of God which had served as an inspiration for him throughout his life: the Umilenie (Умиление) or Tenderness Icon of the Mother of God.
The icon is rare within Orthodoxy in that it shows the Mother of God without the infant Christ. The reason for this is because it is a depiction of Mary at the moment of the Annunciation (Luke 1:24-38). With arms prayerfully folded in submission to the Lord, eyes downcast in humility, she is at the point of uttering her humanity-saving reply to the Archangel Gabriel: “Let it be to me according to thy word.”