Our British Post Office has an absolutely fantastic idea for keeping the Christmass Spirit alive.
Simple: they delay delivering a a fair bit of Christmass mail until the week after Christmass ... what we Catholics call the Octave!!!
So it was several days after the Big Day that we finally got our card from the lads on Papa Stronsay (although they posted it in good time): twenty one signatures!! No wonder ... er ...
And the superb card from Stuart and Jill Chessman, who entertained me a few years ago in Connecticut.
Their card set me thinking ... in their Levantine travels, they had visited Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, and their card made use of the mosaic representation there of the Theotokos and her Child.
And this is what I wondered.
That mosaic has the long-customary monograms for our Lady on each side of her: METER and THEOY.
Now ... surely, the identitity of the Figure would be obvious to any worshipper. So ... why the need for a written designation?
Then the thought occurred to me: could this convention have originally had any connection with the didactic steps taken by Orthodox iconodouls after the restoration of Orthodoxy?