The icon of the Mother of God of Smolensk depicts her holding her beloved Son in her left
hand, with her right hand gently pointing towards Him. The Savior can be seen holding a scroll
in His left hand, His right hand extended in a gesture of blessing.
According to long-standing tradition, the apostle and evangelist Luke himself was the
mastermind behind the creation of this iconic piece of artwork. It is believed to have made its
way to Russia from Constantinople, gifted to Prince Yaroslav the Wise’s wife Anna by the Greek
emperor Constantine IX Monomachus as a symbolic gesture of goodwill.
After the death of Vsevolod, Yaroslav’s son Vladimir Monomach inherited the icon and
thereafter brought it to the city of Smolensk, where it soon became known as the Smolenskaya.
The city in itself has a long and storied history, with its inhabitants having to endure a turbulent
and often violent past.
In 1238, for instance, hordes of Tatars descended upon Smolensk, leaving its inhabitants
stranded and with no hope of any external assistance. However, the residents relied upon the
intercession of the Mother of God, acquiring her aid through fervent prayers to answer their
pleas. Thanks to her divine intervention, the city was ultimately able to resist the occupying
forces, thereby earning the icon the status of a cherished symbol of protection and a precious
legacy of faith.
Commemoration day: July 28