The Mother of God is crowned with a gold leaf halo and dressed in a richly embellished maphorion, bordered in contrasting material and decorated with Bethlehem stars at the forehead and shoulder, her head is gently inclined towards her son. By her side stands the Christ Child, dressed in a green himation, his right hand raised towards his mother in a gesture of benediction. The figures’ robes are highlighted in gold.
The Mother of God of Kazan, a variant of the Greek Hodegetria, is one of the oldest and most venerated images in Orthodox Christianity. The icon of the Mother of God of Kazan 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 discovered.