(The Star of the Sea) has long been the favourite title by which
people of the sea
have called on her in whose protection they have
always trusted: the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her son, Jesus Christ,
accompanied his disciples in their vessels, helped them in their work
and calmed the storms. And so the Church accompanies seafarers, caring
for the special spiritual needs of those who for various reasons live
and work in the maritime world. Pope John Paul II
The Sea covers two thirds of the planet and the people of the sea,
those who live, work or have their present or past way of life linked in
any way to the sea are served by the Church through the
Apostleship of the Sea (AOS). The AOS
is often known locally as Stella Maris after the name given to the many seafarers hostels provided in ports around the
The AOS today has a presence in some 116
countries and is striving to serve many millions of people. These are people who may
always be on the move or who may be shore based. These are people
involved in the international seafaring and coastal seafaring trades, in
commercial fishing and in subsistence fishing communities, in the
offshore oil industry or in the cruise shipping industry plus the many
contract sailors employed in yachting around the world. Our Lady Star
of the Sea is the patron of the AOS and all those who contribute to this work of serving the People of the Sea.
of our Lady Star of the Sea was painted in the Neo-Coptic style by the
internationally renowned iconographer Dr. Stephane Rene who is the only
exponent of this sacred artistic tradition in the West.
For more information click into firstimageicons.com or
The Coptic icon
is the direct heir to the spirituality of the Desert Fathers who were
the first Christian Monks (Coptic period second to seventh
centuries) and lived in the deserts of the Middle East. They led a
prayerful and reflective way of life and developed a spirituality which
shaped many monastic rules such as that of St. Benedict. St. Jerome was a
Desert Father and he identified in his writings that Mary, the Mother of
God, was the Star of the Sea.
The Star of the Sea:
Is the most ancient of titles for Our Lady. It is premised that in the
time of Our Lord the equivalent phrase of Our Lady in the Aramaic
language of that day meant pilot, leader or guide--someone who could
navigate through the sea or the desert by the stars and lead people to
safety. The stars were and are used as a guide to safety and to new
life. The sea covers all the earth and symbolises all the people of the
earth. Our Lady was therefore identified from the very earliest days of
the Church as the guiding light to her son, Our Lord, for all the people
of the earth.
The Icon of Our Lady Star of the Sea--Stella Maris
Stella Maris is set in the context of the night and
reflects the difficulties of life sensed more deeply at night and
perhaps also of the times of the dark night of our souls.
The triangles are symbols of fire which in turn are symbols of
The star is Sirius, the largest and most brilliant star in the
heavens. A major star of navigation but also known in mythology as the
God Star or the Dog Star that leads. This star was (and is) an object of
great worship in many cultures around the world. In the middle east the
rising of Sirius in the heavens in June coincided with the annual floods
of the Nile upon which the lives of the ancient Egyptians depended.
The visible circulation of the minor stars Sirius A and Sirius B around
Sirius itself were also part of this worship culture and form the basis
of the Star of David symbol.
The Virgin and Child are positioned in the upward pointing
triangle of the Spirit -linking to Sirius the lead star of navigation
Mary is herself the Star which illuminates our inner darkness and leads
our souls to her divine Son.
The sea has always been the most feared elements of nature
because of its enormous power to sustain life or destroy. We are
powerless and insignificant in the midst of its rage. Yet in its benign
aspect the sea is a source of untold beauty and nourishment for mankind.
The sea is therefore a metaphor for life and its perils but also for its
wondrous joy and beauty. The world-wide ocean also represents all the
peoples of the world.
The four fish are a reference to the four Gospels, and ultimately
Christ Himself who was know to the early Christians as the Great Fish
The boat in the background is a symbol of the individual soul of
the believer on the spiritual path. This boat of life can be navigated
safely by turning to Christ as guided by Our Lady star of the Sea, the
star of our life.
The boat is also an image of the Church Militant navigating
through time, through life and to the promised land.
Our Lady is depicted standing on the moon, again an object of
worship in ancient religions. The image also recalls the verse in
Revelation Chapter 12. And there appeared a
great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under
her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.