Translation of the “Blachernae” Icon of the Mother of God to Russia

The Blachernae Icon of the Mother of God was discovered at Jerusalem by the empress Eudokia during the time of Saint Juvenal, Patriarch of Jerusalem (July 2), and Saint Euthymius the Great (January 20). The holy icon was sent to Constantinople, where the empress Pulcheria placed it in the Blacernae Church, where the Venerable Robe of the Mother of God (July 2) was preserved.

This holy icon is also called the Hodigitria, or “She who leads the way.” It was with this icon that Patriarch Sergius (610-631) made the rounds of the walls of Constantinople in the year 626 with Moliebens during a siege of the capital by the Avars. In memory of this and other victories, which were won thanks to the intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos, an annual celebration was established on Saturday of the Fifth Week of the Great Fast to offer Praises to the Most Holy Theotokos (Saturday of the Akathist). At first the celebration took place only at the Blachernae church in Constantinople. In the ninth century the Feast was included in the Typikon of Saint Sava the Sanctified, and in the Studite Rule. Later, it was included in the Lenten Triodion and made universal for all the Orthodox Church.

After the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Blachernae Icon was transferred to Mt. Athos, and in 1654 it was sent by the Athonite monks to Moscow as gift to the Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich.

The Blachernae Icon is celebrated on July 2, and in the Fifth Week of Great Lent (Saturday of the Akathist).