The Mother of God of Kazan

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reference number: RI_173

19th century

tempera and gold on wooden panel

The Mother of God of Kazan is a shoulder-length variant of Hodegetria (the One who shows the way in Greek). The icon shows the Virgin with her head inclined towards the Infant Christ at her left. The Christ Child is depicted in a frontal pose, raising his right hand in a blessing while his left hand is covered by the folds of his himation. The outer borders are painted with two family saints.


The Theotokos Kazanskaya is one of the oldest and most venerated images in Orthodox Christianity. The icon is celebrated on July 8th and October 22nd, commemorating its apparition in 1579 in the city of Kazan – formerly the capital of the Tatars – shortly after the city had been conquered by Tsar Ivan IV “The Terrible” According to the tradition, the icon was discovered by a child, Matrona. It was said that the Virgin Mary herself, in an apparition, revealed the object’s underground location to the girl. The original icon was kept in the Theotokos Monastery of Kazan, which was specially built to commemorate the spot where it was found.

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