Icon: Kazanskaya Mother of God | S-26
Origin Old Believers Workshop
Period : 19th century
: 40 x 31.5 cm
Private Collection, Switzerland

In Russia, the Kazanskaya Mother of God is one of the most revered icons. The Virgin has been painted in a refined style against a gold ground from her shoulders upwards. She 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. The saints on the left and on the right border are: St Dmitri. Archangel Gabriel, St Evdokia, St Andrean.

The icon of the Mother of God of Kazan was discovered by a girl called Matrona in 1579. The house where the nine-year-old Matrona lived with her parents burned to the ground in the same year. After this event, the Mother of God visited Matrona several times in her dreams and told her that she should look for a miraculous icon under the ashes of the house. Matrona told the church and secular authorities about the request from the Mother of God in her dreams, but no one paid attention to the young girl. She finally managed to convince them and an investigation got under way. During a search in the ruins of the house an icon wrapped in cloth was found, right under the oven. The icon had not suffered any damage from the raging fire. It was subsequently taken to the nearby St Nicholas Church and then carried in procession to the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Kazan. It was there that the icon worked many miracles. In the same year Ivan the Terrible commissioned a copy of the icon, which was to be taken to Moscow. He also ordered that a monastery should be erected on the spot where Matrona's house had stood and this was the place where the original icon of Kazan finally came to remain. The same icon accompanied the Russian drive against the Poles in 1612, when Moscow was liberated. Two centuries later, in 1812, the Mother of God Kazanskaya protected the Russian army yet again, this time against the French led by Napoleon. In the Russian Orthodox Church calendar the Kazanskaya icon is celebrated on 8 July and 22 October.