Icon that “Bestows Reason” or protects from coronavirus?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Reading Time: 3 minutes


Alongside the worldwide spread of the coronavirus, social network users frequently share religious symbols including icons that protect from the virus per their beliefs. On February 29, Facebook page საქართველოს მარგალიტები, (Pearls of Georgia), and later on March 3 and 6, Facebook pages ქრისტიანი (Christian), ჭეშმარიტება (Truth) disseminated the icon with the following description: “Urgent! Icon that protects from coronavirus. Share this icon, write down amen and you will not get infected with the virus. It’s a very miraculous icon”.

Despite the fact that the post disseminated a few months ago, post from the page “Christian” is still being shared by Facebook users and it was viewed over 90 thousand times in the past 24 hours.

The icon disseminated by the Facebook pages “Pearls of Georgia”, “Truth” and “Christian” can be found in orthodox sources but with different content and significance. In reality, the icon is named “Bestower of Reason” and isn’t connected to coronavirus.

Information about the identical icon is found on the webpage of the Orthodox magazine “Karibche“ that dates back to 2008 and the icon is said to be “Bestower of Reason”. As the same source explains, the first image of the icon is held at the Transfiguration Cathedral of Rybinsk. It was created due to a belief that “Virgin Mary is mediatrix between God the father and the son of God, she bestows spiritual and physical grace upon humans”. There’s no consensus about the creation date of the icon, albeit, the proportion of scholars date it back to 18th, 19th century”

As for the icon disseminated on the social network, it was created in 2007 by the Georgian painter and iconographer Tamar Rigishvili

About the dissemination of the post 

It’s noteworthy that page Pearls of Georgia, which was the first one to disseminate the icon, publishes entertaining information and has diverse posts. It didn’t receive much response, albeit as of now posts from religious pages Christian and Truth has around 22 000 and 3,500 shares in respective order.

Holy Corona

It’s worth mentioning that since the emergence of COVID-19 the posts with similar content has circulated in other countries as well. For example, according to the Snopes.com article, information about a patron saint against epidemics named Corona has been shared on the social network.  Said information was debunked by the Church History Department of Boston College. Information about Saint Corona appeared on the internet in 2008 as well, but there’s no connection to the epidemic to date.

Data from CrowdTangle, a public insights tool owned and operated by Facebook. 


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