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A guide to the holy icons in the Bishop Harrison Library collection

The Rev. Mary Green, an alumna from the Class of 1992 and author of the book, Eyes to See: The Redemptive Purpose of Icons, has given Seminary of the Southwest several of the icons she has written. Read more about this generous gift on the press release from spring 2023. Mary has developed informational cards called "Holy Sightings." To acquire a set of these cards, please stop by the Harrison Library.

The Rev. Mary Green's book

Video of the Rev. Mary Green's remarks in Christ Chapel

Icon #1 by Mary Green

2004 May. Pantocrator.

11 by 14” on 3⁄4” board

Since this was my first icon I asked for the simplest pattern, which is why this icon does not contain Christ holding a gospel book or an upraised hand in blessing as in traditional Pantocrator icons. Also, my teacher, Vivian Karayiannis who lives in Houston, was at my elbow constantly. Her skill is evident in some lines of the face. See Chapter 8 in Eyes to See, the Redemptive Purpose of Icons, NY: Morehouse, 2014.

Icon #11 by Mary Green

2006 September The Savior in Glory,

Framed 23.5 by 31.75 on quarter inch panel

This pattern was chosen because I was fascinated by the symbolism of the six winged creatures (seraphim) surrounding the throne, and the color combinations. See “Holy Sightings”.

Using the icons in the classroom and in liturgical services

Seminary of the Southwest students, faculty, and staff: If you would like to borrow any of the icons for a classroom session or a liturgical service, please reach out to the Harrison Library staff at or by calling 512-478-5212.

Icon #16 by Mary Green

2009 Theotokos Eleusa (Merciful),

11 by 14", 1" board

Prosopon method instructed by Kay Sevick, The Woodlands, Texas. See “Holy Sightings” for symbolism explanation and possible use of this icon. Particularly appropriate for Advent.

Icon #19 by Mary Green

2012 July Mother of God of Passion

15 by 20" on 1" icon board 

(mostly done in 2011,

exhibited unfinished in Dec. 2011,

varnished after move to Washington.)

I had seen this icon in a monastery in Greece several years before and was drawn to the story the icon tells of how the Child Jesus learned of his destiny. Of particular fascination to me is the deliberate distortion of proportions of all four figures, and the possible significance of each in the revelations to Jesus. See “Holy Sightings” for symbolism explanation. Particularly appropriate for Advent.

Icon #21 by Mary Green

2013 January St. John the Baptist,

11 by 14"

A traditional but lesser known icon pattern for John the Baptist depicts him as an angel (messenger of God) with graying hair, possibly indicating the wisdom of age. Feast Day June 24.

Icon #22 by Mary Green

2014 January The Holy Trinity,

15 by 20" on 1" board

Undertaken in hopes the meditative process of writing this icon would increase my understanding of the Trinity. It didn’t, but I did more fully appreciate the sense of community, and where I might fit. See “Holy Sightings” for symbolism. Festal icon for Trinity Sunday.

Icon #25 by Mary Green

2016 June Mary, from Segnadi Bonaventura early 14th century

9 by 13 3/8 on quarter inch panel.

Written at icon workshop at Gage Academy, Seattle, led by iconographers from St. Petersburg, Russia. 9 X 13 3/8”on 1/4” inch panel. Flaws in actual icon inexplicably occurred during drying process, and as I was fearful of ruining an attempted repair by mismatch of color I decided to leave it as is. The flaws make it look older, a deliberate process by some icon sellers to forge antique icons. (Photo was retouched to remove flaws) Especially appropriate for Advent. Feast Day August 15.

Icon #27 by Mary Green

2016 November The Savior in Glory, or Christ Enthroned.

11 by 14" on 1" icon board

Ten years and sixteen icons after the larger rendition of this icon I decided a smaller tabletop version would be more useful. See “Holy Sightings” for symbolism. Especially appropriate for Ascension.

Icon #28 by Mary Green

2017 June Sinai Pantocrator

6.5 by 13” on icon board

My third attempt to make a more accurate copy of this most famous and earliest extant icon of Christ. The asymmetry of facial features is deliberate in this icon which shows the two natures of Christ. See “Holy Sightings” for symbolism explanation.

Icon #32 by Mary Green

2018 October Martyrdom of St Stephen

11 by 14" panel

In making a traditional icon of St Stephen for my parish I found this pattern that captured my imagination as depicting the very beginning of the evangelism of the Gospel. Based on Acts 7:54-8:1. Note the lack of halos for the two who are wielding stones and Saul who sits in approval. This is an especially powerful icon to me, but my church preferred the other, less offensive icon of Stephen. Feast Day December 26.

Icons 34, 35, and 36 by Mary Green

2018 November Angel Gabriel, Holy Spirit, Mary

8 by 10, 7 by 9, 8 by 10 for Annunciation


These three separate panels depict my version of The Annunciation. I have never been drawn to the traditional version so I decided to do my own. The Angel Gabriel is from a traditional contemporary pattern. I adapted a traditional pattern of Mary to show her holding out her hands ready to receive. For me, it is Mary’s profound receptivity that is central to her participation in the Incarnation. The usual patterns of Mary showing her hands in the orans position are easily misinterpreted in my opinion, while this position of receptivity is what I wanted her icon to communicate. The Holy Spirit is intended to depict a huge heavenly soft umbrella covering. The unrealistic size proportions of Gabriel versus Mary versus the Holy Spirit is intentional. Below is a suggested arrangement of the panels. Left: “The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid.” Top Right: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” Bottom Right: “Let is be.” (Luke 1:26-38).