Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Gülhane Park, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'48.7"N 28°58'54.6"E / 41.013528, 28.981833

The Hodegon Monastery (also Monastery of the Panaghia Hodegetria or Monastery of the Hodegoi) in Constantinople was allegedly founded by Saint Pulcheria (399-453), a daughter of Emperor Arcadius.

Tradition states that the monastery held the Icon of the Hodegetria, believed to have been painted by Saint Luke. When the icon was sent to Pulcheria, she took a vow of chastity. The name of the icon, Panagia "Hodegetria" ("She who shows the Way"), is given through the legend which tells that nearby the church of the monastery was a source where the blind and all who suffered eye disorders came to be healed, since the Holy Virgin would have appeared to two blind people and guided them here where she restored their vision.

The sanctuary was rebuilt by Emperor Michael III (842-867) but only a few ruins are visible near Gülhane Park. The most venerated icon of the Hodegetria type, regarded as the original, was displayed in the Monastery of the Panaghia Hodegetria in Constantinople, which was built specially to contain it.

Unlike most later copies it showed the Theotokos standing full-length. It was said to have been brought back from the Holy Land by Eudocia, the Empress of Theodosius II (408-450), and to have been painted by Saint Luke. The icon was double-sided, with a crucifixion on the other side, and was "perhaps the most prominent cult object in Byzantium".

There are a number of images showing the icon in its shrine and in the course of being displayed publicly, which happened every Tuesday, and was one of the great sights of Constantinople for visitors.

It was moved to the monastery of the Pantocrator, the base of the Venetian see, from 1204 to 1261, during the period of Frankish rule, and since none of the illustrations of the shrine at the Hodegetria monastery predate this interlude, the shrine may have been created after its return.

The original icon has probably now been lost, although various traditions claim that it was carried to Russia or Italy. There are a great number of copies of the image, including many of the most venerated of Russian icons, which have themselves acquired their own status and tradition of copying.


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