The Kozelshchanskaya icon of the Mother of God is a waist-length image of the Theotokos with the Divine Child in the arms. The Child is shown holding a cross in his right hand and half-sitting on the Theotokos’s lap. To the right on the table is a jar with a little spoon. They are interpreted in two ways as the celebration of the Eucharist and an illustration of the joy the Mother of God delivers to the world.

The miraculous image of the Kozelshchanskaya (Kozelshchinskaya) Mother of God was a family sanctity in the house of Count Kapnist at their Kozelshchino estate, Poltavskaya gubernia, from which it got its name. According to legend, the icon was brought to Russia in the 18th century by Countess Kapnist, Italian by birth. The miraculous icon was pretty small in size, – 35.2 x 26.4 cm.

The icon produced its first miracle on February 21, 1881. Maria, the daughter of Count Vladimir Kapnist turned ankle but the doctors failed to help her; what is more, the girl began to suffer from spinal curvature. The girl felt relief and eventually recovered after she prayed before the icon. In March 1881 the icon was temporarily transferred to Moscow where it became famous for many miracles; a copy of the icon was made during that time. In April 1881, by authority of Archbishop John of Poltava the icon was transferred to a temporary chapel that had been specially built for it in the Count’s garden at Kozelshchina. A special investigative commission consisting of the clergy and civilians examined 21 miracles produced by the icon between 1881 and 1882. In June 1886 a cross procession carried the icon to the church that would eventually grow into the Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos.

The feast of the icon is celebrated on March 5 (February 21) commemorating the day of the first miracle it produced.

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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