In the city of Nizhny Novgorod, a miraculous Russian icon was first discovered and subsequently
relocated to the nearby village of Paliza. Once there, it performed a stunning miracle, prompting
Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich to order its transfer to Moscow in 1641. The sacred icon was then
placed in the Passion Virgin Monastery, which was named in its honor.
The “Mater de Perpetuo Succursu” is an original rendition of the image, and its location can be
found in the “Church of the Redeemer and Saint Alfonso of Liguori” in Rome. This type of
iconography was particularly prevalent during post-Byzantine times and was produced by the
“Italo-Cretan” school of art. One famous example is the creation of Andreas Rico (Ritzos), an
artist from Herakleion on Crete who worked in Italy during the 16th century, and to whom some
attribute the inception of this particular depiction. Over time, this iconic portrayal has become
increasingly well-known, particularly in Greece, where explanatory inscriptions such as “Before
he (Archangel Gabriel) offered the greeting to the very pure, he shows the instruments of
suffering, but Christ, who became mortal flesh, sees her fearfully in fear of death” are often
added for additional context.
The icon itself features the Mother of God of the Hodegetria type, with the Christ Child resting
on her left arm and gazing up at Archangel Gabriel. One unique element of the depiction is the
presence of the anxious or frightened expression on the face of the Christ Child, which is
believed to reflect his awareness of his own mortality.
Interestingly, the concept of the refuge-seeking child is not a new one, as early versions of this
iconography can be found in copies of frescoes from the 14th century, first discovered in the
Athos monastery Hilandar. The Konce monastery in Macedonia also contains a similar fresco,
labeled as the “anxious Mother of God of Hilandar,” offering further evidence that this image
was known and appreciated long before the contributions of Andreas Rico.
Commemoration day: August 13