Virgin of Tenderness

The Korsun Icon of the Mother of God or the Virgin of Tenderness

The miraculous Korsun icon of the Mother of God is one of the most valuable artifacts in the Orthodox tradition. It is believed that this religious image was painted by the Evangelist Luke, the saint who largely contributed to the tradition of iconography. Today, October 22, the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of the Korsun icon of the Mother of God or the Virgin of Tenderness. Read on to learn more about the history of this relic and its meaning.

The history of the Korsun icon of the Mother of God

The Korsun or Ephesus icon of the Mother of God remained in the Byzantine Empire for a long time. As mentioned above, the legend says that the image was painted by the Evangelist Luke and was recognized by Our Lady as a blessing. There are various versions of how the icon ended up in the Rus, and who brought it from Korsun (Chersonesos, Crimea).

According to one legend, the Virgin of Tenderness icon was brought to Rus in 988 AD by Prince Vladimir the Great. It should be reminded that this year turned out to be incredibly important for the entire Rus as Christianity was adopted. According to another version, the icon was brought to Russia by the well-known saint Euphrosyne of Polotsk who at the time was advocating the spread of Christianity.

The Virgin of Tenderness icon and its description

The Korsun icon of the Mother of God belongs to the Eleusa or Tenderness type. The image depicts the Mother of God dressed in blue and red clothing, with the Divine Child who is wearing green. The blue and red symbolize majesty and the Heavenly Kingdom, while the green vestment signifies the good news of the Savior’s coming. In one hand, Jesus holds a scroll, i. e., the Gospel, and with the other hand, He holds the cloak of the Virgin Mary. They gently press their cheeks together, representing the sincere love of the Mother and the Son, as well as the striving of the human soul for the spiritual and divine life.

The Korsun icon of the Virgin of Tenderness is full of tranquility and peace; the faces of Theotokos and Christ bear thoughtfulness and spiritual closeness. Many believers pray with this icon to gain confidence in making difficult choices, for prosperity in the family, and for healing of bodily and mental ailments.

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