Icon: Kazanskaya Mother of God
|Number:||171||Period:||end 17th century|
|Name:||Icon: Kazanskaya Mother of God||Size:||31,8 x 27 cm|
In Russia, the Kazanskaya Mother of God was one of the most revered icons and the patron saint of women. Therefore a Kazanskaya was always present in the icon corner of a family’s house, next to the icon of Nicholas, the patron saint of men.
According to legend a young girl named Matrona found the icon of the Kazanskaya in 1597 after the Virgin Mary appeared to her in a dream.
The icon was carried in procession to the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Kazan, where it worked many miracles. A monastery was erected where Matrona found the icon, and she herself entered the convent.
The icon played an important role in Russian history. It accompanied the Russian army against the Poles in 1612 when Moscow was liberated. Two centuries later, in 1812, the Mother of God Kazanskaya protected the Russian army against Napoleon. During the Russian-Japanese war (1904-1905) the icon disappeared. Only recently the icon was discovered in the Vatican. In 2005 the Pope decided to return the Kazanskaya to Russia. Whether this was the original icon or a later copy is uncertain.
The Virgin inclines her head towards Christ, who stands at her left side with his right hand raised in benediction. He is depicted half-length and faces the viewer frontally.
Since the original icon was small in size, its copies ‘according to its measure and likeness’were well suited for private devotion and were often painted as images for use in monastic cells or in the home. Such was apparantly the function of the present icon.
In the Russian Orthodox Church calendar the Kazanskaya icon is celebrated on 8 July and 22 October.