The awe shown before the sacred is an expression of love and joy, not of fear. The monks don’t venerate the wood, paint or craftsmanship of the icons. Rather their love and respect is directed towards the persons or sacred events depicted in the icons.
In the snapshot above, a monk from one of the other nineteen monasteries of Mount Athos expresses his love, gratitude and respect for the Mother of God. Shown here is Panagia Vimatarissa, one of the seven miracle-working icons at the Monastery of Vatopaidi, which has helped him spiritually throughout his entire monastic life.