According to legend, on August 16, 1239, the Kostroma Prince Vasily Yaroslavich Kvashnya, during a hunt expedition near the city of Gorodets, found a wonderworking icon of the Mother of God with the Child. Later, on the place of the icon’s discovery near the river Zaprudnya, the Cathedral of the Savior was built. According to The Tale of the Icon, the holy warrior Theodor Stratilate transferred the icon to Kostroma from the city of Gorodets that had been devastated by Khan Batu. Gorodets’ merchants who came to Kostroma, recognized their lost sanctity. The icon received the name “Feodorovskaya” after Kostroma’s Church of Theodor Stratilate at which it had been placed. After a big fire in Kostroma the icon was found incorruptible. During the second fire the icon miraculously rose above the flames. According to the Tale the burning rays coming from the wonderworking icon helped the citizens of Kostroma defeat Khan Batu. The miraculously discovered icon is now located at the Epiphany Cathedral in Kostroma. While only a few of the original fragments have survived, the icon maintained its main iconographic features.

The Feodorovskaya icon of the Mother of God belongs to the type of the so-called Tenderness icon. The Infant Chirst sits left to the Mother of God embracing Her by the neck. The specific features of the icon are Christ’s half-bare and bent leg and rhomb-like stars on the Theotokos’ omophorion. The icon was particularly widespread in the Kostroma lands in the 17th – 18th century.

As a national sanctity, the Feodorovskaya icon came to be venerated since the 17th century. «Книге глаголемой Новый Летописец» (The Book Named New Chronicler) (1630) states that the nun Martha, Mikhail Romanov’s mother, blessed him to kingship with the Feodorovskaya icon.

The Russian Church commemorates the Feodorovskaya icon on March 27 (March 14, O.S.) on the day of the election of Mikhail Romanov as tsar and on August 29 (August 16, O.S.) on the day of the icon’s discovery.

Zhanna G. Belik,

Ph.D. in Art history, senior research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum, custodian of the tempera painting collection.

Olga E. Savchenko,

research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum.


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