0237 Virgin of The Everlasting Well
17th cent. 47x37x3 cms.
A soldier named Leo was returning to Constantinople when he met a blind man. A voice told Leo to slake the blind man’s thirst and directed him to go to a nearby grove where he would find water. he voice also foretold that Leo would become Emperor and further instructed him not only to give the blind man water but to put the mud from the spring on the blind man’s eyes. He dis so, the blind man’s sight was restored .
In 457 Leo did become Emperor and, as instructed, he built a church on the spot where the miracle had occurred. As the icon shows, the spring provided a continuous supply of restorative waters to those with all kinds of mental and physical afflictions. The clergy also came for spiritual renewal but the most interesting figure is in the bottom right hand corner. Here an African soldier is helping a blind man to take the waters. It is a very early example of African personalities being portrayed in iconography.