Orthodox icon | The Three-handed Mother of God of Damascus | 24796


  • Typ: Russian icon
  • Age: 19th century
  • Size: 54 x 41.5 cm | 21.3 x 16.3 in


Orthodox icon | The Three-handed Mother of God of Damascus | 24796.

The highly revered Greek icon known for miracles is celebrated in Russia on the dates of June 28 and July 12. It currently resides within the Serbian Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. A significant figure related to this icon is Saint John of Damascus (December 4, d. 777).

As a staunch defender of icons and the governor of Damascus, he found himself falsely accused of treason by the iconoclastic Emperor Leon III (717-741) before the caliph of Damascus. As a result, the caliph ordered the severing and public display of John’s right hand.

That night, friends of the Saint managed to retrieve the severed hand and returned it to John of Damascus. He pressed the hand to his wound and sought healing through fervent prayer before the icon of the Mother of God. As he slept, she appeared to him in a vision, restoring his hand by miraculously attaching it to the stump.

In gratitude for this divine intervention, John commissioned a hand of silver and attached it to the icon before which he had offered his prayers, thus giving birth to the depiction of the Three-Handed Mother of God.

After the miracle demonstrated John’s innocence, the caliph proposed to restore him to his previous position. However, John chose instead to journey to Palestine, where he became a monk in Saint Savva’s Lavra (monastery). He took the revered icon with him, and it was held and venerated in the monastery until the 13th century.

In the early 13th century, Saint Savva, the Archbishop of Serbia (January 12), visited the monastery. The monks gifted him the icon, which he then brought back to Serbia. Due to ongoing turbulence in the region, the icon was believed to have miraculously moved on the back of a donkey to the safety of the Serbian Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos.

In the upper part of this iconography, you can see the figure of Saint Martyr Eudocia of Persia (August 4).

The Eastern Orthodox Church reveres Saint Martyr Eudocia of Persia, also known as Eudokia. Her transformative journey from paganism to devout Christianity exemplifies unwavering devotion and martyrdom.

During the fourth century, under the rule of the Sassanid Shah Sapor II in Persia, Eudocia thrived. A chance meeting with a Christian named Pantaleon turned her from paganism to Christianity. From then on, she passionately served the Christian faith, embodying chastity and piety.

While accounts of her life differ, all narrate her martyrdom. One story tells of her arrest amid severe Christian persecution during Sapor II’s reign. Even under torture and threats, she stood firm in her faith.

Another tale speaks of the king summoning Eudocia for her famed beauty. When she declined his advances and professed her Christian faith, he, filled with rage, commanded her execution.

In every account, Saint Eudocia meets her end for refusing to forsake Christianity. The Orthodox Church commemorates her martyrdom every August 4. Her life inspires many with its testament to enduring faith and courage against oppression.

Source: Orthodox icon | The Three-handed Mother of God of Damascus | 24796 © Ikonen Mautner. Typing errors, other errors or changes reserved.

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Orthodox icon | The Three-handed Mother of God of Damascus | 24796
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