Virgin Theotokos “Eleusa”- T103


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Hodegetria (Directress)




National History Museum, Sophia, Bulgaria


19th c. (Early)


Dimitrov, Christo




This icon was originally painted for the iconostasis of the Church of the Blessed Virgin at the Karloukovo Monastery in Bulgaria where it resided for many years.  The iconographer Christo Dimitrov, who painted in the Samakov School style, had his own personal signature of elements in his icons of large expressive eyes, tiny lips, and a rosy complexion.  His style is a blending of traditional classical iconography with some Baroque stylistic influence.  The inscriptions appear in the golden medallions on either side of the Virgin, also in a Baroque style.  The Virgin’s face is quite beautiful, and is set off by the blue background and the golden fringe on her raiment.  

She is indicating by her right hand that points to the Saviour, that He is “The way, the truth, and the life” for us all to seek, although the icon title in Greek says it is an Eleusa or Tenderness style icon.   Christ’s right hand is giving the Orthodox priestly blessing towards the Faithful, who are looking to Him as the source of all goodness, vitality, and inspiration.  His eyes show active love for us all, and an invitation to join Him in Heaven.