Vilensky Hodegetria, Vilnius, Lithuania
Orthodox tradition holds that St. Luke the Evangelist
wrote (painted) this icon, which later belonged to the Byzantine ruling family.
Painted on linden and cypress boards, it is a Hodegetria or way-pointing icon, with
the Mother gesturing toward her Son. When the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II conquered the last Byzantine stronghold of
Morea in Greece, the defeated emperor Thomas Palaiologos took the Virgin's image with him to Rome in
1460. Thomas's daughter Sophia brought it to Moscow in 1472, when
she married Great Prince Ivan III, and sent it to Vilnius with their daughter
Helena at her marriage to Alexander, King of Lithuania, in 1495. During World
War I, the Russian Orthodox Church evacuated many of their sacred objects from
the war zones. Church officials moved the Vilensky icon from the Holy Trinity
Monastery in Vilnius to the Donskoi Monastery in Moscow. Two years later, the
Bolsheviks closed the Donskoi Monastery, and the Vilnius Hodegetria was lost.
The Holy Spirit Monastery in Vilnius preserves a copy. The Russian
Orthodox Church celebrates the transfer of the icon to Vilnius on February 15 in
the old calendar, February 28 in the new. It is also honored on April 14 / 27. For the better-known Vilnius icon representing the
Virgin without the Child, see November 16.
(Information and picture from the Lithuanian Eparchy's site,
Also commemorated this date:
|Reina de los Angeles, La Reina, Chalatenango, El Salvador|
|Madonna delle Lacrime, Treviglio, Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy. Fresco
|Dalmatova Mother of God, Dalmatovo, Kurgan, Russia (Feb. 15 Julian)|