Russia Religion Subjects Virgin Mary Our Lady of Balaam

Our Lady of Balaam

Our Lady of Balaam was painted in 1878 by an hieromonk called Alypius at the Balaam Monastery of the Transfiguration. Mary stands at full length, on a cloud, holding the Christ Child out in front of her.

The image is intended to represent the Virgin’s special patronage of the Balaam Monastery, which was known as the “Athos of the North.” The iconography is similar to the image of the Abbess of Mount Athos, depicting the patroness of the holy mountain in Greece.

The original icon remained on Balaam until 1940, when it was moved to the Finnish village of Pappiniemi and hung in the Cathedral of the Transfiguration at the New Balaam Monastery, where it remains to this day. In 1900, the monks painted a copy, which has never left Russia. In 1996, it was moved from St Petersburg back to Balaam.

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