The icon is shaped like a shield and depicts the Guardian Angel standing on a cloud with our Lord’s Cross in his right hand and a sword in his left. To the left of the Cross there is an inscription in Church Slavonic: “С™hй агGле храни1тель” (“Holy Guardian Angel”). The image is based on an iconographic copy from the front of the 17-th century original in the Siya Pictorial Icon Painter’s Manual.
Church tradition maintains that the Lord grants a Guardian Angel to each person at baptism. The Angel assists the Christian on their thorny path to holiness and guards them against the wiles of the devil throughout their life.
The belief in guardian angels has been known since the times of the Old Testament. Scripture states that God’s angels fulfilled the Divine Providence in governing various kingdoms and nations (Daniel 10:13-21). The righteous men mentioned in the Old Testament also had guardian angels (Gen. 48:16, Psalms 33:8). The belief persisted into the times of the New Testament. Indeed, its existence in apostolic times is confirmed by St. Peter’s miraculous deliverance from prison (Acts 12:7-17). But the widespread veneration of the Guardian Angel began from the 16-th century onwards, due to the fact that this period saw a strengthening of the personal component in the Christian religious consciousness, while the theme of the Last Judgment gained more relevance and became mainstream. After all, it is the Guardian Angel who helps the human soul overcome the so-called “trials” on the way the Kingdom of Heaven after it is separated from the body. The iconography and hymnography of the Guardian Angel began to develop in the 16th century and became fully established by the second half of the 17th century. At the same time, the understanding of the image improved and prayerful communion with the Guardian Angel deepened. This period was marked by the appearance of icons that depicted the Angel’s deeds and illustrated every kind of assistance provided to a Christian by his or her Guardian Angel. The chief iconographic attributes of the Guardian Angel are a cross, which he uses to bless the person in question, and a sword for driving away demons. Both are present on this particular scapular.
On the reverse side of the icon one can find the text of a troparion from the canon to the Guardian Angel in Church Slavonic: А$гGле б9ій, храни1телю м0й с™hй, живо1тъ мо1й соблюди во страсэ хрcта2 бг7а, ќмъ мой u6тверди2 во и4стиннэмъ пути2, и6 къ любви2 г0рнэй u6zзви2 душу мою2,.. (“Angel of God, my holy guardian, keep me in awe before Christ, our God, all my life, strengthen my mind so I can remain on the right path and ignite my soul with the flame of love for that which is heavenly…”)