Russia Religion Subjects Virgin Mary Virgin Hodegetria of Smolensk

Virgin Hodegetria of Smolensk

The Virgin Hodegetria of Smolensk is one of the most popular images in Old Russian painting. The original icon was allegedly brought to Russia by Princess Anna Monomachus of Byzantium, the bride of Prince Vsyevolod Yaroslavich of Chernihiv. Their son, Vladimir Monomachus, transferred the miracle-working icon from Chernihiv to Smolensk, where he donated it to the iconostasis of the Church of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin (1101).

Some thirty copies of the Virgin Hodegetria of Smolensk were made, including many miraculous and much revered icons to which miracles and healings have been attributed.

The icon depicts the Mother of God with the Infant Christ seated on her left arm. The Virgin’s right hand is raised towards her Son in prayer. Jesus’ right hand is raised in blessing, while His left hand holds a rolled-up scroll. Mary is dressed in a red-brown head-veil with golden stars (symbolising virginity) and a dark-blue cap. Jesus wears a yellow chiton with golden assist.

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