Russia Religion Subjects Virgin Mary Virgin Provider of the Bread of Life

Virgin Provider of the Bread of Life

In 1890, Mother Superior Hilaria of the Convent of the Virgin and All Saints in the town of Bolkhov in Oryol Province commissioned an unusual new icon. The work was painted by an hieromonk called Daniel (Dmitry Bolotov) at the Optina Hermitage and depicted the Mother of God sitting on clouds over a field with sheaves of corn. This iconography became known as the “Virgin Provider of the Bread of Life.”

The icon was presented to Ambrose, an elder (starets) at the Optina Hermitage, where the monks prayed to the icon for a good harvest. A feast day was established in honour of the new image on 15/28 October. Although the Russian Orthodox Church did not immediately recognise the Virgin Provider of the Bread of Life, the worship of the icon quickly spread throughout Russia.

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