March 27

Theotokos of St. Theodore, Kostroma, Kostroma, Russia

There are many explanations for the name of this venerable Russian icon, said to have been painted by St. Luke the Evangelist. One is that it hung in the Church of St. Theodore Stratelates in the town of Gorodets, Russia, but disappeared in the Mongol invasion of 1239. Another is that, in the same year, 185 miles downstream on the Volga, the people of Kostroma saw the icon being carried through the streets by a mysterious warrior resembling St. Theodore Stratelates, a military commander in Asia Minor martyred in 319. On August 16, 1239, Prince Vasiliy Yaroslavich of Kostroma found it hanging on an evergreen tree. Another story relates that around 1260, when Tatars threatened Kostroma, Russian militia rode out with the icon before them, but when a mysterious horseman dashed between the armies, with golden shield flashing and purple cloak flying (or when the icon itself emitted blinding rays), the Tatars ran, while Russians identified the saving apparition as St. Theodore Stratelates.   

The icon came to reside in Kostroma Cathedral. On March 14, 1613, Xenia Shestova, living in Kostroma as a nun, blessed her son Mikhail Romanov, newly chosen Tsar, with the wonderworking icon and gave him a copy to take with him to Moscow, where the "Feodorovskaya" became spiritual patron of the Romanov dynasty. 

The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the St. Theodore Mother of God on March 27 (March 14 old style) in honor of this event, and on August 29 (August 16) to commemorate its finding. 

The original image is now in Epiphany Monastery in Kostroma. It is an icon of the Tenderness type, similar to Our Lady of Vladimir.


bulletFr. S. Janos, tr., "The Theodorovsk (Feodorovsk) Kostroma Icon of the Mother of God," HOLY TRINITY RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH, a parish of the Patriarchate of Moscow,
bulletSt. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Washington,
bullet"Theotokos of St. Theodore,"
bullet"Угличский Богоявленский монастырь," (image)
bullet"Kostroma," Russian Holidays,

Also commemorated this date:

bulletCtvrtá Mariánské, Karlštejn, Beroun, Central Bohemia, Czech Republic (Marian Tower in Karlštejn Castle), Czech Republic. Chapel consecrated, 1357.
bulletMadonna del Camino, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy, in Santa Maria Calchera church. Fresco's eyes moved, 1690.
bulletBeata Vergine del Piratello, Imola, Bologna, Emilia Romagna, Italy. Apparition, 1483; festa.
bulletMadonna di Romania, Tropea, Catanzaro, Calabria, Italy. Earthquake during procession spared town, devastated region, 1638.
bulletMaria Santissima del Carmine, Taurianova, Reggio Calabria, Calabria, Italy. Statue crowned, 1960. 

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly