In the Orthodox pictorial traditions, one of the iconographic images has spread, not always meeting with trust and approval from believers. We are talking about the icon "Holy Family", depicting Christ with his parents. We will talk about what this icon is and what its ambiguity is.
The icon "The Holy Family" is one of the most common gifts that are brought from Jerusalem as a shrine and in memory of the pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In its composition, it represents the image of Jesus Christ as a child, behind which stand his mother, Mary, and the father (as the believers believe — imaginary) Joseph. By the nature of his letter is a Greek icon. The holy family on it is depicted, although in the framework of traditional Orthodox icon painting, but quite alive - so that it is associated not so much with a religious image, as with a photo from a family photo album. This icon awakens a feeling of warmth, home care, love and understanding.
Claims to canonicity
But some believers in Russia, including the clergy, are greeted with this image disapprovingly. The main reason for the claims is the fact that Joseph's right hand embraces Mary by the shoulders, which, according to the Orthodox, could not be, and if it was, it should not have a place on the icon. One has to hear arguments that, like any image, the icon of the “Holy Family” is symbolic, and Joseph’s hugging Mary can only act as a symbol of their marital intimacy, which the Orthodox dogmatist, like the Catholic, categorically denies. Another reason to find fault with the Greek image is the look of Joseph, directed not at Christ, but at Mary. Recall that, according to the tradition of the church, Joseph was Maria's betrothed, that is, the person who took care of her, but did not have a marital relationship with her. And therefore, such hints of another zealot of the Orthodox faith can be enraged.
Icon "Holy Family" - the justification of canonicity
There is, by the way, another icon, the “Holy Family,” in which the Mother of God with the Baby is depicted in the foreground, and other figures, including Joseph, are seen in the background. But this option is not so popular, probably due to the fact that it does not dispose to such strong emotional experiences. And he also has the second name - “Three Joys”.
This image, according to certain popular interpretations, has its own sphere of responsibility. Some even believe that this image helps someone in some ways, but I must say that this is from the category of popular superstitions. The main purpose of the icon is to encourage prayer, and, so to speak, feedback is the work of the type that is represented on it. The said image plays the same role, if, of course, this particular icon of the “Holy Family” is Orthodox. However, it is also important as a symbol of domestic happiness, comfort and family well-being. In this capacity, she became a fashionable gift for couples, including during the marriage. In principle, there is nothing wrong with that.
Prayer to the icon of the “Holy Family”
“O, Most Holy Virgin, Mother of the Most Blessed Son, and the most merciful handcuff Joseph, intercessors and intercessors of all Christians! Hear our prayers, pray your Son and our God Jesus Christ, grant each one according to his needs: sinners will be given effective insight, correction and salvation, in trouble and sorrow - help and comfort, embittered - softening of hearts, cowardly - patience and hope living in joy and prosperity - constant gratitude to the Lord, the sick - healing. Oh, holy Parents of the divine Son, be merciful to all who honor you, and retreat to us all the powerful cover of your intercession from the enemies visible and invisible. Affirm in love, faithfulness and unity of mind of those who remain in marriage, bring up children, confer chastity on youth, and open their minds to the perception of learning. Protect relatives from domestic quarrels and reward them with peace. Give us all each other love, harmony and understanding, piety and long days of living in good health. We, having found in you strong representatives and intercessors, thank and together with you we will glorify God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Forever and ever! Amen!"