First Tuesday in March
Madonna di Costantinopoli, Bari, Apulia, Italy
||The tradition in Bari is that St. Luke painted the icon of
the Virgin Hodegetria, She Who Shows the Way, which Empress Eudocia
brought to Constantinople in 438. Her sister-in-law Pulcheria built a
sanctuary for it near the Great Palace, where it worked many miracles.
Then, starting in 726, Emperor Leo III banned the use of images in
churches and worship. Finding the honor accorded the Hodegetria
particularly idolatrous, he ordered it burned. But two monks stowed it
away in a vessel bound for Italy. When the ship encountered a terrifying
storm, a handsome angel descended, calmed the crew, took the helm, and
steered into the port of Bari. It was the first Tuesday in March, 731. The
bishop of Bari greeted the Madonna and gave her refuge in the
Other traditions hold that the original Hodegetria icon was destroyed
during the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453, or that it escaped
to other locations (Montevergine, Rome, Smolensk).
Covered with a metal sheath since the 1700s, the icon now venerated in
the crypt of Bari's Cathedral has been dated to the 1500s. Radiography at
the Bari Clinic showed that the Virgin's gesturing hand had been raised
from her lap to her breast. Both positions are now visible.
The Madonna of Constantinople is the patron saint of Bari, celebrated for a
week beginning on the first Tuesday in March.
(Information from "La Madonna Odegitria," Diocesi di
and other sources. Picture from "Puglia," Viaggi di gruppo,
Also commemorated this date:
|Madonna di Costantinopoli, Binetto, Bari, Apulia, Italy|
|Madonna di Costantinopoli, Bitritto, Bari, Apulia, Italy|
|Madonna Odegitria, Noicąttaro, Bari, Apulia, Italy|