Mother of God of the Don | Donskaya

The exquisite icon depicts the Blessed Mother holding a young child in her right arm while
pressing her cheek against the little one’s face. The Savior stretches out his right hand towards
the mother’s shoulder, while holding a scroll in his left hand. His feet rest gently on the
bare-kneed left arm of the Mother of God.

This piece of art, revered by the faithful, is believed to have been brought by the Don Cossacks
as a symbol of hope during the war against the Tatars. It was attached to a wooden stick and
carried like a church flag during the Battle of Schnepfenfeld in 1380. Following the victorious
battle, the Cossacks offered the icon to Prince Dmitry Donskoy, who then placed it in the holy
Assumption Cathedral located in Kolomna.
Over time, the icon made its way to the Cathedral of the Annunciation in the Moscow Kremlin,
where it became the object of great veneration. In 1591, the intercession of this holy icon saved
Moscow from the devastating onslaught of the Crimean Tatar khan Kazygirej. It was the very
spot where the icon stood during the battle that inspired the foundation of the Donskoy
Monastery in the same year.
The icon’s influence continued through the early modern period. In 1598, it was the setting for a
remarkable moment in Russian history when Boris Godunov was proclaimed Tsar by Patriarch
Iov in its presence. Since its arrival at the Cathedral of the Annunciation, the icon was first
situated to the left of the royal door before later being moved to the right. It now rests next to
the icon of the Smolensk Savior, both of which are still celebrated today for their role in the
protection and salvation of Moscow over many centuries.
Commemoration day: August 19