Golden crown, placed on picture by order of the Holy See in 1867. It is a token of the miracles wrought by Our Lady invoked under the title of "Perpetual Help".
Greek Initial St. Gabriel the Archangel He holds the cross and nails.
Greek Initials for "Jesus Christ".
Mary's Left Hand supporting Christ possessively: She is His Mother. It is a comforting hand for everyone who calls on her.
Mary's Eyes are large for all our troubles. They are turned toward us always.
Fallen Sandal Perhaps the symbol of a soul clinging to Christ by one last thread-devotion to Mary.
Star on Our Lady's veil. She is the Star of the Sea who brought the light of Christ to the darkened world...the star that leads us to the safe port of Heaven.
Greek Initial "St. Michael the Archangel." He is depicted holding the lance and gall-sop of Christ Passion.

Mary's Mouth is small for silent recollection. She speaks little.

Red Tunic, the color worn by virgins at the time of Christ.
Dark Blue Mantle, the color worn by mothers in Palestine. Mary is both Virgin & Mother.
Christ's Hands, turned palms down into his Mother's indicate that the Graces of Redemption are in Her keeping.
Entire Background is a golden symbol of Heaven, where Jesus and Mary are now enthroned. The gold also shines through their clothing, showing the heavenly joy They can bring to tired human hearts.
Greek Initials for "Mother of God"


-----------------------------------------------The Picture's Meaning----------------------------------------

Look at the picture. Frightened by the vision of two angels showing Him the instruments of the Passion, the Christ Child has to run to His Mother, almost losing, in His haste one of the tiny sandals. Mary holds him in Her arms reassuringly, lovingly. But notice Her eyes. They look not at Jesus, but at us. Is this not a touch of genius? How better express Our Lady's plea to us to avoid sin and love Her Son?

Christ's little Hands, too, are pressed into Mary's as a reminder to us that, just as on earth He
placed Himself entirely in Her hands for protection, so now in Heaven He has given into Her hands all graces, to distribute to those who ask Her.


Spiritual Meaning of the Icon Our Mother of Perpetual Help
























How it got there is a long story...

     Briefly, at the close of the 15th century a merchant stole the picture from its shrine on the island of Crete, miraculously weathered a tumultuous sea voyage and finally brought it to Rome there, before he died he gave it to a Roman friend, begging to have it placed on a worthy church. This friend neglected to do.

     Our Lady then appeared, urging the Roman to comply with the request, threatening him even with death. At his wife's bidding, however, the man paid little heed to the apparition. Shortly after, he died.

     Next Our Lady appeared to the little daughter of the family. "Go to your mother and grandfather." She commanded," and say to them: Holy Mary Of Perpetual Help warns you to take Her from your house; else all of you will soon die." The girl relayed the message to her mother. Panic stricken, the woman promised to obey.

     Our Lady then told the little girl just where the picture should be placed: in the church "between the basilica of St. Mary Major and that of St. John Lateran." In solemn procession, on March 27 1499, it was carried to the church of St Matthew the Apostle. The same day a miracle occurred: a man's arm, crippled beyond use, was completely restored.

     So, for 300 years, the picture hung over the main altar in the church of St. Matthew the Apostle, loved by all, renowned far and wide for miracles.

     Then came June, 1798. Napoleon entered Rome. The church of St. Matthew was leveled to the ground. The picture disappeared.

     For sixty-four years it remained hidden, almost forgotten, until… one day at recreation, in the Redemptorist house in Rome, one of the Fathers mentioned having read, in an old tomb, that their present church, San Alfonso, was built on the ruins of St Matthew's where once was enshrined a miraculous picture: Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The name startled FatherMichael Marchi. He recalled as a boy having served Mass in the oratory of the Irish Augustinians at Santa Maria in Posterula. There he had seen the picture. An old Brother had pointed it out to him.

     Some month later, in February, Father Francis Blosi, S.J., preaching in the Gesus on "the lost Madonna of Perpetual Help," told how it was Our Lady's wish that the picture be enshrined in the church" between the basilicas of St. Mary Major and St John Lateran." Word got back to the Redemptorist. The Superior General was informed But he waited three more years. He want to be certain.

     Finally, on December 11, 1865 the whole matter was presented to PopePius IX. On January 1866 the miraculous picture was brought once more to the site of its former glory the church between the two basilicas, now that of San Alfonso. Three months later, it was solemnly enshrined. And on June 23 1867, it was crowned.

Perpetual Help Center
Redemptorists of New York
294 East 150th St. Bronx NY







   We, who have been raised and educated in the Western World, are accustomed to an imitation of nature in our Art. This is not so in the Easternor Byzantine World, especially in their religious art. They visualize all creation as a manifestation of God and because of that idea their art by-passes the simply natural and portrays the supernatural presence.

   Once we appreciate these facts, a new world of spirituality bursts upon us. The beauty and mystery of an Icon, of the Byzantine world is only captured in the gentle contemplation of its spiritual message. A message that immerses itself into the soul of the beholder and transforms that soul into the realm of the supernatural. The ancient and worldwide-venerated Icon of Perpetual Help is such and Icon.

   The artist, who creates an Icon is a holy and theological man. His purpose is not only to please the human emotions of a person but most importantly to illuminate the soul with Divine truth and direct it on to its final destiny. The Icon of Perpetual Help representing Christ and His Mother, contains the three theological essentials found in all true Icons. Through the Incarnation, man becomes a Son of God by sanctifying grace. The spiritual world becomes a reality. Through - With - In - Christ a new creation takes place.

   Profound truths only affect us after prayerful meditation over a long period of time. Contemplate the Icon of Perpetual Help. Slowly its spiritual secrets will unfold before your soul and its great truths will rule your life forever.

   Christ the Focal point of All. Mary, a human like ourselves, cooperating with her faith, hope, and charity in His great act of Redemption, is the Mother of God- Mother of the Church- Our Mother of Perpetual Help.