ICON: Theotokos, Multiplier of Wheat

ICON: Theotokos, Multiplier of Wheat


Inspired by the documentary, PISTEVO, the Orthodox Christian Network will be featuring iconography and the Saints of the Orthodox Church.  Iconography, the centuries-old tradition of depicting faith through images, was the primary means of teaching Christianity until written records were formally canonized as the Holy Scriptures.  Please join us in raising awareness of iconography as a window into heaven &  finding and fostering one’s faith.

theotokos multipler of wheatThe Icon of the Theotokos, Multiplier of Wheat (ca. 1890) was commissioned by Ambrose of Optina (1812-1891). It was a gift for the Shamordino women’s monastery, which he had founded. Shamordino had an endowment enabling it to accept women from any walk of life or state of health, which was unusual at the time. Elder Ambrose had a childlike faith in the Mother of God and prayed to her often, especially before this icon. The icon shows the Theotokos sitting enthroned on a cloud above a partly-harvested field of wheat (see picture).

Ambrose even wrote a new refrain for the Akathist especially for singing before this icon: “Rejoice, thou full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Grant also unto us unworthy ones the dew of your grace and show us your loving-kindness!” The good father decreed that the icon should be celebrated every year on October 15 (Old Style). He fell asleep in the Lord on October 10 (O.S.) the next year. Thus by the working of God’s grace, he was buried on the feast day of the icon he so loved. As he lay dying, he was asked to whom he was entrusting the convent. He replied, “The Queen of Heaven.”

The icon is credited with the abundant harvest of wheat in the monastery’s fields that year, when croplands were struggling elsewhere. A copy of the icon is credited with ending a drought the next summer in Voronezh.


How Can You Get Involved?

1.  Share Your Favorite Saint(s) & Icons(s)

  • Take a photo of your favorite icon.
  • Write a few sentences of 30 words or less about your faith, the icon & the Saint’s significance in your life.

2.  Email the photo and text to:  InspiredbyPistevo@myocn.net

  • We will notify you when your photo & text is uploaded to the Orthodox Christian Network web site (myocn.net) and Facebook page – – – and shared with millions worldwide!  We look forward to hearing from you.


Inspired by the documentary, PISTEVO & The Greek Orthodox Church of Our Saviour in Rye, New York, the Orthodox Christian Network is embarking on a major initiative to feature iconography and the Saints of the Orthodox Church over the next several months and years to come.  Please watch  PISTEVO – “I Believe”, and join us in raising awareness of iconography as a window to finding and fostering one’s faith.

We invite you to share your experiences as to how icons have fostered your faith.  Please post to the Orthodox Christian Network’s Facebook page or email us at InspiredByPistevo@myocn.net.


Iconography, the centuries-old tradition of depicting faith through images, was the primary means of teaching Christianity until written records were formally canonized as the Holy Scriptures. Yet even today, centuries later, iconography remains a spiritually powerful part of Orthodox Christian theology.  For many, the images enhance one’s ability to go deeper into the exploration and appreciation of their faith.

Click here to view an archive of all Saint and Iconography posts.


The independent documentary depicts a community coming together to complete the centuries-old mission of iconography led by Father Elias Villis at the Greek Orthodox Church of our Saviour in Rye, NY.

The epic film, PISTEVO, directed by  Director, Mark Brodie, and written and produced by Taryn Grimes Herbert,  expresses “why we honor the traditions of our theology and share our spiritual experience with the Orthodox world.”

Click here to visit The Art of Belief and watch the full length film – PISTEVO.

Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network. You can find the Orthodox Christian Network on Google+

About author

Alex Riggle

Alex Riggle is a middle-school math teacher and a tonsured Orthodox reader. He is the editor of The Onion Dome, a blog of Orthodox humor, and is working on a saint-of-the-day book for publication. Reader Alex is passionate about the saints and wishes for every Orthodox Christian to grow in knowledge of and love for our great family in Heaven.