The arch-shaped relief icon is a replica of Our Lady of Jerusalem, which, according to legend, was painted by St. Luke on the day of the Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary. One of its copies was brought from Jerusalem to Constantinople, where it was first stored at a church consecrated to the Mother of God and known as Pygii, or “The Wellspring”, and later at the Church of St. Mary of Blachernae. Later the icon was moved to Kiev and then given to Novgorod as a gift by Prince Vladimir. The icon was stored at the St. Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod until Tsar Ivan the Terrible conquered the city and brought it to the Cathedral of the Dormition in the Moscow Kremlin. Another copy of Our Lady of Jerusalem was brought from Jerusalem to the St. Sophia Cathedral in Constantinople. Mary of Egypt, who had come to Jerusalem for the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, repented before this icon. Our Lady of Jerusalem belongs to a type known as Hodegetria (Greek for “Directress”, “She Who Points the Way”): the Infant Jesus is sitting on the right hand of His Mother, His legs are criss-crossed, with the right one always placed over the left, the edges of Mary’s cloak are falling onto Her chest and draping in characteristic zigzag-like folds, while Her left hand points at the Son of God. The reverse of the icon contains a prayer to Our Lady of Jerusalem, which framed in an ornament of curling lines and crowned with a blossoming cross.
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