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Panagia Platytera

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File:St Nick DC Altar.jpg

Panagia Platytera (Greek: Πλατυτέρα; "wider" or "more spacious") is an icon of the Theotokos, facing the viewer directly, usually depicted full length with her hands in the "orans" position, and with the image of Christ as a child in front of her chest, also facing the viewer directly. Sometimes the image of Christ is contained within a medallion.

Poetically, by containing the Creator of the Universe in her womb, Mary has become Platytera ton ouranon, which means: "More spacious than the heavens." This type is sometimes called the "Virgin of the Sign" or "Our Lady of the Sign," a reference to Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel."

Such an image is often placed in the apse above the altar.

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