Our Lady of Perpetual Help
The most familiar icon in the West, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, is an icon in the Byzantine Hodegetria style first venerated in Crete around 1499. A merchant stole it and brought it to Rome where his family eventually gave it the Catholic Augustinian Church of St. Matthew in Rome for veneration. The church was later destroyed and icon stored.
In the 19th century a Catholic Redemptorist Church of St. Alphonse of Liguori was built on the same location. and the icon was moved to the new church. In 1867 it was 'crowned' by Pope Pius IX under the title of Our Mother of Perpetual Succour. In 1876, an archconfraternity to promote worldwide devotion was established by the Redemptorists.
The Theotokos and the Child Jesus are central in the icon while the Archangel Michael appears on the left with the lance and sponge of the crucifixion and the Archangel Gabriel hold the cross and nails on the right. A secondary title of this style of icon is the Theokotos of the Passion.
Despite the icon's having been obtained by crime and displayed in a non-Orthodox church, many miracles of healing have taken place through the intecession of the Theotokos. There is no clearer proof of her love for her Son's children.