The August Menaion Icon

A Reader's Guide to Orthodox Icons

The word Menaion (Gr: Μηναίον; Slavonic: Минея) comes from the Greek word meaning “of the month”. It is used to describe a way of grouping together liturgical texts, prayers and stories based on the order of Saints’ days and other feast days in the Church calendar.

A Menaion Icon is similar in that it is a pictorial grouping together of Saints and feasts, usually in rows, according to their order in the Church calendar. Menaion icons started to appear in Byzantium around the time of emperor Basil II (963-1025).

The August Menaion Icon

The icon above is from Russia and dates to the 19th century. It shows in four rows the Saints and Feasts associated with the month of August (click on its image to see the full-sized picture). The Saints and Feasts shown are by no means comprehensive, but are chosen according to their importance to the parish who owned the…

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