The Theotokos of Tenderness
On January 2nd, 1833 the great ascetic, Christian mystic, wonder-worker and spiritual giant, Saint Seraphim of Sarov, reposed in his hermitage in the woods not far from Sarov Monastery. He was found kneeling in prayer before an icon of the Most Holy Mother of God which had served as an inspiration for him throughout his life: The Theotokos of Tenderness or the Umilenie (Russian: Умиление).
The icon is rare within Orthodox Christianity in that it shows the Mother of God without the infant Christ in her arms. The reason for this is because it is a depiction of the Holy Virgin at the moment of the Annunciation (Luke 1:24-38). With arms prayerfully folded in submission to the Lord, her eyes downcast in humility, she is at the point of uttering her salvific reply to the Archangel Gabriel: “Let it be to me according to thy word.”