0223 Virgin of Kazan
A girl living in Kazan was visited by the Virgin who told Matrona that an icon was buried in a fire destroyed house. The sincerity of her insistence forced the authorities to investigate and the icon was found beneath the ashes wrapped in a cloth. The subject became one of the most popular in Russia and was the quintessential image of icons collectively known as “Hodegetria” [Gk= Showing the Way].
Besides being one of the most popular subjects in Russian iconography, individual examples becoming nationally famous because of their presence on the battlefield. It accompanied victoriuos Russian soldiers when they expelled a Polish army from Moscow in 1640 and similarly in 1812 in the battles against Napoleon. The original too was surrounded by controversy. It disappearing in 1905 to re-appear, allegedly, in New York. After many years it was returned to Russia but it was declared to be a copy by the Orthodox Church.