Our Lady of Perpetual Help, also known as Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by Pope Pius IX, associated with a celebrated Byzantine icon of the same name dating from the 15th century.
This icon has been in Rome since 1499, and is currently in the church of Sant’Alfonso di Liguori all’Esquilino. The image has become very popular among Roman Catholics in particular, and has been very much copied and reproduced
1) Greek initial for Mother of God. (‘MP-ΘΥ i.e. Μήτηρ Θεού, Mother of God)
2) Greek initial for St. Michael, the archangel. (OAM i.e. Archangel Michael)
3) Greek initial for St. Gabriel, the archangel. (OAΓ i.e. Archangel Gabriel)
4) Mary’s mouth is small for silent recollection. She speaks little.
5) Mary’s eyes are larger, for in all our troubles, they are turned towards us always.
6) Star on our Lady’s veil means she is the star of the sea who brought the light Jesus into this world.
7) Red tunic is the color worn by virgins at the time of Christ (AD 33).
8) Christ’s hands turned palms down into his mother’s indicate that the grace of redemption is in her keeping.
9) Mary’s left hand supports Christ possessively. That means she is his mother. It’s a comforting hand for everyone who calls on her.
10) Dark blue mantle – the color worn by mothers in Palestine. means Mary is both virgin and mother of Christ.
11) The entire background is gold representing the heaven.
12) Golden crown placed on the original picture as a token of many miracles wrought by our lady invoked under the title of perpetual help.
13) Greek initials for Jesus Christ. (Iς-Xς i.e. Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Jesus Christ )
14) Foot with falling sandal represents Christ’s divine nature, barely clinging to earth. The human nature is symbolized in the other foot to which the sandal is more firmly bound. This simply means that Christ has two natures, Human and Divine.