We are all made in the image and likeness of God, and each one of us is His icon. We reflect and witness to His Truth, the Truth of His Incarnation, of His transfiguring grace in every person.
Traditional Orthodox Russian homes had a special icon corner, called the “red corner”, because the word “red” means beautiful in Russian. The Red Corner was a home altar, where the family stood in prayer each morning and each evening, where thanks, petitions, and honor were given to Jesus Christ, His mother, and the patron saints of the household. The icon area was draped with a cloth. A candle glowed. Upon entering the house, visitors first acknowledged the icons as representatives of God’s presence in the family. They gave a respectful bow, making the sign of the cross, and sometimes offering a short blessing or prayer, before going on to greet the members of the household.
It was also the custom, although not displayed here in this reconstructed rural farmhouse in Suzdal, Russia, to have a wall mirror hanging nearby. This mirror was also draped with a cloth, in exactly the same manner as the icons. This served as a reminder that each and every person is the image of God, His icon, His work of art. The person in the mirror is blessed with the love and grace of the Holy Spirit dwelling within–and is to carry out the work of Christ in his/her life. The mirror is also a daily reminder that every person encountered during that day is also God’s beautiful icon, to be treated with love, dignity and mercy.