Russia Religion Subjects Virgin Mary Our Lady of Vladimir

Our Lady of Vladimir

Our Lady of Vladimir belongs to the Tenderness (Greek: Eleusa) type of Orthodox icons. The original work was painted in the first third of the twelfth century and brought from Constantinople to Kiev. In 1155, the icon was transferred to Vladimir, where a special cathedral was built in its honour. The work soon became the leading religious object in the town and was renamed Our Lady of Vladimir.

When Muscovy was threatened by Tamerlane’s army in 1395, the icon was lent to the city and the Tatar hordes were turned back. The saving of Muscovy was attributed to the miraculous intercession of the Virgin Mary and the icon’s fame spread. Although it was returned to Vladimir, it was permanently established in Muscovy in 1480, becoming a national object of worship and protector against afflictions and enemy attack. Many copies of the icon were subsequently made throughout Russia.

Conveying the love of a mother for her child, Our Lady of Vladimir is one of the most touching Tenderness types. The Russian icon-painters introduced a hint of tenderness and quiet sorrow to the austerity and maternal grief of the original Greek image.

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