Question about a Theotokos icon

In the Monastery Icons thread, somebody posted a link to Holy Trinity Icon Studio which I found to have very nice icons, so I was looking on their site. I found my favorite Mary icon there, this one:

I have seen this before and thought it was the Umilenie or Tenderness icon that is supposed to represent Mary being humble at the time of her Fiat, and is one of the Theotokos icons not showing her with Jesus. (Corrected as Vico listed a number of other icons not showing her with Jesus, apparently this isn’t as rare as I was led to believe from whatever I read.) Also the favorite icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov.

However, they call the icon (and the other variations of Mary in the same pose) “Compunction”. I wasn’t sure how that fit in with Mary at the time of her Fiat. The definitions of the word “Compunction” are as follows (quoted from online dictionaries):

a feeling of guilt or moral scruple that prevents or follows the doing of something bad.

an uneasy feeling about the rightness of what one is doing or going to do.

a feeling of deep regret (usually for some misdeed)

What does this have to do with the icon of Mary at the time of her Fiat? I can’t imagine Mary having an uneasy feeling at that point (the Angel had just told her “be not afraid”), nor did Mary ever have guilt, moral scruples, deep regret since she did not sin. I also didn’t get the impression that this icon was meant to inspire us to guilt or deep regret unless of course we have sinned and in that case any icon could so inspire us.

Can someone knowledgeable please explain why it’s called “Compunction”?

I think you meant to reply to the other thread. Can you please move your reply to the Monastery Icons thread? This one is about the Theotokos icon. Thanks.

The Theotokos icon I posted is not from the Monastery Icons site; as I stated it is from the Holy Trinity Icon Studio link which was posted by ReaderT.


Still waiting for an answer to my question regarding why this icon and others of similar style are called “Compunction”…

The icon is NOT FROM MONASTERY ICONS. I have explained this above, TWICE.

The Monastery Icons discussion has nothing to do with this thread, which is me asking a question about an icon that is one of my personal favorites.

For the third time, this icon is from the Holy Trinity Icon Studio and here is a link to it. The shop sells three versions of it all called Compunction and I am simply asking about why the name Compunction is used.

Holy Trinity Icon Studio was posted in the other thread by ReaderT as being a legitimate icon seller affiliated with an actual monastery.
Here is their “about” page.

This appears to be the actual monastery. It is Orthodox, which is no surprise given that they sell Russian style icon reproductions (as in prints laminated and mounted) and portraits of Russian Orthodox saints.

I am flagging your posts as off topic.


I love this icon too.


It and “Our Lady of Bethlehem” icon (the only one where she smiles) are my favorites.

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I am not familiar with Our Lady of Bethlehem icon.

I have a prayer card with the above Mary icon on it.


I am wondering if it might be a translation issue on their end. I have never heard of Compunction with respect to Mary in the Eastern Church. At least not that I can remember.

I am a fan of Jordanville, although I have never visited. Seeing the gold domes was always a sign that our drive to my Dad’s hometown was almost at an end. We did occasionally see monks along the side of the road. It did have that Russian feeling.

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This is a reproduction of Our Lady of Bethlehem icon. The original is in Bethlehem right before one goes into the cave where Jesus was born and where the manger is.


I have never before seen this icon.

I’m wondering whether to just e-mail Jordanville and ask. Hopefully they won’t get mad at me for asking politely.

I do not think it will hurt. They are pretty much the most conservative Orthodox in the states that I know of, but I would definitely still ask. You have me curious now.

While I have not visited Jordanville, I have been to St. Tikon’s in PA. I grew up near there, but being Catholic, it was not somewhere we normally would go. I did have friends in high school who’s Dad taught there (if I remember correctly), and many years later a friend went to seminary. I did visit then :slight_smile:

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I don’t know anything about the icon, but it is certainly beautiful. This probably makes me a bad, latinized Byzantine, but I prefer slightly Western-style icons and I love this one.


I’ve considered visiting St. Tikhon’s. It seems to be in a pretty remote area but could be combined with a trip to Scranton, where I have been before. They seem to be quite visitor-friendly from their website.

You’re right.

Mary was submitting to God’s will at her Fiat. Not expressing regret or uneasiness.

It seems very strange that they would name an icon “Compunction 2”.


Perhaps it is a word used in Eastern Orthodox theology? Perhaps Mary is expressing regret at the sinfulness of humanity?

That sounds like the best thing. I probably would.

“Compunction” is a very strange word for them to use, but could be a word used to refer to a theological concept in EC theology.

Okay, I googled a few Orthodox sites and it seems that the Orthodox have a particular meaning of the word “Compunction” which does not match the dictionary definition. had a discussion of the term:

In these beautiful, simple words of the great poet is described what happens to many people during prayer. One recites the words of prayer, perhaps familiar to one from childhood, and suddenly one feels a kind of enlightenment, lightening, and tears. In church language this condition is called compunction. It is a condition that is sometimes given one during prayer, when one feels the presence of God more than usual. It is a spiritual state, when the grace of God touches the heart directly.

So it’s likely describing Mary’s spiritual state at the moment of her Fiat and conception of Jesus. Which makes sense.

Mystery solved!


I wonder if Byzantine Catholics use the same term.

I might do some research on that.

They are visitor friendly and definitely off the beaten path a bit. However, when you are there you know you are there. It has been a long time, but I believe there is also a sign on the main road where you need to turn. You might miss that turn the first time, but the actually Monestary complex is right on the road. You just have to drive far enough. Lol. I remember there was plenty of parking.

I went by a lot in high school to a farm nearby for 4-H stuff. It was over just 10 year ago when my friends were there for seminary.


My cousin is a Russian Orthodox iconographer and usually makes icons for their gift shop.

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