Panagia is one of the elements of the episcopal robes. It is made in the form of icon, small cross which is worn on the chest. To produce the attribute used silver, gold and wood. The original image of the Panagia was different, and during the time it has changed significantly. A few years ago was taken to do the capacity to carry the shrine in panagia. Remarkably, in Orthodox Russian and Greek churches was practiced the use of confidants in shape of crosses. Gate icons rectangular shape were made in the form of reliquary, they were often to be found in Russia.
Over time, the shape has changed and become roundish. Oval Panagia icon was considered especially popular in XV-XVI centuries. At the same time, almost to the XVIII century, Panagia and pectoral cross, which is also called encolpion, had the same in meaning and use. That changed in the years 1741-1742, during the reign of Empress Elizabeth. That it she has issued a decree that allowed archimandrites wear pectoral crosses equally. The bishops have since largely wear the Panagia. The attributes were decorated with a variety of images: the Blessed Virgin Mary, the icon of the Savior, the faces of saints. In addition, there were met the subjects of Sacred History with special significance - the Crucifixion of Christ, the resurrection or ascension.
What is the meaning of the Holy Panagia? Certainly, first of all is spiritual. The icon serves as a reminder of the Savior, because of His grace the Church now lives and saint sacraments occur. At the time of the service the bishop is the inverse image of our Savior. Furthermore, Panagia reminds us of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints of God who are protectors of the Church before the Lord.
Like the priests' pectoral cross, there are Panagia is award icons. In ancient times, the King-Emperor of the Russian Empire bestowed them to bishops. They were decorated and on the back side there was the portrait of the Emperor. History brought to our time the ancient samples the owners of whom were by the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. The icon of the Patriarch of Moscow, which is now considered to be missing, was a unique example of religious iconography masters in ancient Russia. It was manufactured from a single piece of sandalwood and was cut out the image of the Mother of God. Framing was made of red gold. In the old days, to make panagias was frequently used relief carving on wood. Today, painters and masters use in their work are many techniques, among which there are modern techniques, as well as Art Nouveau which is came from the XIX century.