Icon of the Theotokos “Donskaya” (Theophanes, 14th c.) – T80


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Church Feast Day 1



Eleusa (Merciful)


Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia


Theophanes the Greek


14th c. (Late)


This icon is a reproduction of the famous original icon of the Virgin “Donskaya” which is the Russian translation of “of the Don” (our icon T80). It is the tradition that this icon was brought by the Cossacks of the Don to Prince Dmitri Ivanovich before the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380 to help the Prince defeat the Tartars in that decisive battle that began to free the Russian land from Tartar subjugation and invasions. The famous iconographer Theophanes the Greek painted it at around that time. In 1591 victory in another important battle against the Tartars was credited to this icon.

Icons of the Virgin have played an important part in the history of Orthodox nations and there have been many times when, in the face of very unfavorable military odds by a threatening enemy, the people have gathered together before an icon of the Virgin to pray and ask her help to intercede before her son Jesus Christ to save and protect His people. In many cases these prayers have averted the disaster of a most surely impending defeat. 

The icon is shown here as it was first painted, without its protective metal cover (riza in Greek or oklad in Russian).