The Vilnius icon of the Mother of God and its cult in the Greek Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity

Rūta Janonienė
2017 Menotyra  
The article discusses the icon of the Hodegetria Mother of God, formerly placed in Vilnius.The currently missing piece of art was considered very important in the Vilnius spiritual life inthe 16th – early 20th centuries and was respected by Orthodox, Greek Catholic (Uniate) andRoman Catholic churches. A significant influence on the cult of icons was inspired by the au-thorship attributed to St. Lukas (later – only its prototype) and historical links with the familyof the Grand Duke of Lithuania
more » ... d Duke of Lithuania Alexander Jagiellon (the icon was brought as a dowry in 1495by his wife Elena, the daughter of the Grand Duke of Moscow).In the 16th century, the icon was stored in the Orthodox Cathedral of the Blessed Mother ofGod. At that time it was possibly renewed (two side boards were replaced and the icon was re-painted with the egg-tempera technique). It is supposed that at that time the partial amendmentwas made in the oldest silver casings consisting of separate ornamented plates that were coveringthe background of the icon. Most of the knowledge about the existence of the icon exists fromthe beginning of the 17th century, when it was transferred into the church of the Vilnius Basilianmonastery of St. Trinity. There it became a major factor of Vilnius Latin and Greek Catholicreligious integration. The altar of The Mother of God in the church of St. Trinity was patronizedby the fraternity of the Immaculate Conception of Holy Mary.The image of the icons is known from the descriptions, lithographs, photographs and copiesof the 19th century. It should be noted that there are two different iconographic variations ofthe copies of the Vilnius Hodegetria (characterized by the different position of the feet of Jesus).The article raises an assumption that the icon could be repainted in the 17th century. The slightchange of the image or its iconography may have been adjusted with the silver casings made in1677. Once again the Vilnius icon was possibly renewed after the fire in 1706. In the middle ofthe 18th century, the head of Holy Mary was decorated with a new pure gold filigree crown. In1839, after the repeal of the union and the takeover of the St. Trinity's church by the Orthodox,the altar of Holy Mary was demolished and the icon was added to the new iconostasis. In 1866,the old artistic silver casings were melted and from the resulting material the new casing wasmade in St Petersburg, corresponding to the requirements of the Orthodox. In the same year,the icon was restored. Its oil paints were cleaned. The image unveiled at that time perhaps wasnot the first original image, but the one created after the icon base corrections, most likely inVilnius in the 16th century.
doi:10.6001/menotyra.v24i1.3430 fatcat:gijf6winojb2xgtdnrbb2gksf4