Icon of the Mother of God   "The Grace-Giving Heaven"


The original icon showing a full-length representation of the Most Holy Theotokos with the Pre-Eteraal Infant on Her left arm was brought to Moscow from Smolensk by Sofia Vitovtovna, the wife of Grand Duke Vassily Dimitriyevich of Muscovy (1389-1425) and daughter of Grand Duke Vitovt (Vytautas) of Lithuania. It was then installed in the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel in the Moscow Kremlin. In the second half of the 16th century, a new version of the Icon of the Mother of God "The Grace-Giving Heaven," featuring many personages and complex in its pictorial language and symbolism, emerged. It came to be known as "What Shall We Call Thee" and in the course of time it developed into a distinct iconographic type. Yet icon-painters turn to it extremely rarely because it is highly difficult for comprehension by believers. Feast day: March 6/19.