Our Lady of Smolensk is an ancient miracle-working image. The Virgin Hodigitria is one of the most widespread versions of depicting The Mother of God with the Divine Child in Byzantine and Russian art.In this iconographic version the Divine Child is seated on the left arm of the Mother of God, His right hand is raised in a gesture of blessing, in His left hand he holds a scroll, sometimes a book, which complies with the iconographic version of Christ the Pantokrator (the All-Ruler),the faces of The Mother of God and the Divine Child do not touch each other.
This iconographic version is one of the most ancient, though the name itself “Hodigitria” is mentioned in the sources as late as the 1X century. There are different speculations as to the origin of the Hodigitria iconography.The legend has it, that the icon was painted by St.Luke,the Evangelist and brought from the Holy Land by Eudoxie,the spouse of Emperor Theodosius in the middle of the V century.Then, some sources assert that the Icon was placed in the Church of Blachernae, while others mention the monastery of Hodigon.This icon “Hodigitria” is said to owe its name to the monastery .N.P.Kondakov thinks that this iconographic version was born either in Palestine or in Egypt before the V1 century and during the V1 century was widespread across Orthodox Christian Orient and in Byzantium. Other versions suggest the image of the Virgin Hodigitria might have been part of the composition “Adoration of the Magi”, widespread in the early Christian art. Initially the Mother of God could have been painted full-length, either standing or sitting.The miracle- working Icon of the Mother of God Hodigitria kept in one of the monasteries of Constantinople was particularly worshipped in the post-iconociasm period.
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