midwives at the birth of Christ

It was not until a couple of Christmas’ after I became Orthodox that I learned of the tradition regarding the midwives at Christ’s birth. On many Icons of the Nativity one can see some midwives washing the baby Jesus (look at the lower right):


The significance of the midwives in the Icon of the Nativity is it reflects the humanity of Christ, or as Jim Forest in his article about Christmas says: “In the Nativity icon the midwife’s presence has another still more important function, underscoring Christ’s full participation in human nature.” (quotesource)

Not too long ago I came across another piece of artwork by Japanese artist Sadao Watanabe. This piece showing the midwives washing baby Jesus as Mary and Joseph look on:



4 Responses to “midwives at the birth of Christ”

  1. H West Says:

    Thanks for sharing this Japanese print. I love it!

  2. mimima Says:

    As I was looking into Orthodoxy, the Midwives were one of the things that I was immediately drawn to, being immersed in the homebirth movement at that time.

    Thank you!

  3. victoria Says:

    I really like the japanese print too.

  4. Mike Says:

    …nice to see you, last night…wondered what the source is for this traditon. Midwives aren’t mentioned in the Gospel accounts.

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