In Orthodox pictorial traditions, one of the icon-painting images is widespread, which does not always meet the trust and approval of believers. It is about the icon "Holy Family" depicting Christ with his parents. About what this icon is and what its ambiguity is, we'll talk below.
The icon "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 an image in childhood of Jesus Christ, behind which stand his mother Mary and father (as believers believe - imaginary) Joseph. The nature of his letter is a Greek icon. The Holy Family is depicted on it, albeit within the framework of traditional Orthodox iconography, but quite vividly, so that it is associated not so much with a religious image as with a photo from a family photo album. This icon evokes a feeling of warmth, home care, love and understanding.
Claims to canonicity
But some believers in Russia, including clergy, meet this image disapprovingly. The main reason for the claims is the fact that Joseph with his right arm hugs Maria by the shoulders, which, according to the Orthodox, could not be, and if it was, then there should not be a place on the icon. One has to hear the arguments that, like any image, the icon "Holy Family" is symbolic, and Joseph's embrace of Mary can only act as a symbol of their marital affinity, the fact that Orthodox dogma, like the Catholic, categorically denies. Another reason to find fault with the Greek image is the sight of Joseph, directed not at Christ, but at Mary. Recall that, according to the tradition of the church, Joseph was a betrothed to Maria, that is, a person who had patronized her, but had no marital relations with her. That is why such hints of another zealot of the Orthodox faith can lead to fury.
Icon "Holy Family" - justification of canonicity
There is, incidentally, another icon, "Holy Family", where the Virgin and Child are depicted in the foreground, and in the background other figures, including Joseph, are seen. But this option is not so popular, probably due to the fact that it does not have to such a strong emotional experience. And he also has the second name - "Three Joys".
Meaning of the icon
This image, according to certain folk interpretations, has its own sphere of responsibility. Some even believe that the image in some way helps someone, but it must be said that this is from the category of popular superstition. The main purpose of the icon is to induce to prayer, and, so to speak, the feedback is a matter of the prototype, which is represented on it. The same role is played by the image mentioned, if, of course, this particular icon "Holy Family" is Orthodox. Value, however, is attached to it as a symbol of home happiness, comfort and family well-being. In this capacity, she became a fashionable gift to married couples, including during the wedding. In principle, there is nothing wrong with that.
Prayer Icon of the Holy Family
"Oh, Most Holy Virgin, Mother of the Blessed Son, and all-good betrothed Joseph, intercessors and intercessors of all Christians! Hear our prayers, implore your Son and our God, Jesus Christ, and grant to each according to his needs: the sinners will receive effective encouragement, correction and salvation, who are in troubles and sorrows - 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 worship you, and send us all a powerful cover of your intercession from the enemies of the visible and the invisible. Affirm in love, faithfulness and unanimity of those staying in matrimony, educate children, adolescents grant chastity and open their minds to the perception of teaching. Protect from family quarrels of relatives and reward them with peace. All of us submit to each other love, harmony and understanding, piety and long days of life in good health. We, having found in you strong representatives and intercessors, we thank and together with you we glorify God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Forever and ever! Amen!"