May 5th: Our Lady of Smolensk (2)

The Icon, sent by Luke to the “most excellent Theophilus” in Antioch, was first transferred to Jerusalem. During the fifth century the wife of Emperor Arcadius, Empress Eudoxia, donated the Icon as a gift to the sister of the Emperor, Pulcheria, who carried it to Constantinople where it was placed in the Church of the Holy Reliquary. Several centuries later, in 1046, Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos gave his daughter, Anna, in marriage to Prince Vsevolod Yaroslavich, the son of Yaroslav the Wise and used this icon to bless her on her journey. At the beginning of the twelfth century, after the death of Prince Vsevolod, the icon was given to his son, Vladimir Monomachos, who transferred it to the Smolensk Cathedral in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos. Indeed, the prince was quite concerned as Smolensk was the most convenient way for invaders to pass into Russia. Thus, the Mother of God became the protector of Russian borders. From that time onwards, the icon was known as the Smolensk Hodigitria. 

Rejoice, for you are the King's throne.
Rejoice, you bear Him, Who bears the universe.
Rejoice, O Star revealing the Sun.
Rejoice, O Womb of divine Incarnation.
Rejoice, you through whom creation is renewed.
Rejoice, you through whom the Creator is born.


Dominique Leboeuf