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Our Lady with three Hands


Dimensions 0.0 × 18.0 × 22.5 cm


SKU: 55015502 Category:

Our Lady with three Hands

According to the tradition, the icon was painted by or for St John Damascene and it is associated with his miraculous healing around the year 717. According to tradition, while he was serving as Vizier to the Caliph, he was falsely accused of treachery and his hand was cut off. Alternatively this mutilation was by, or at the behest of, the Byzantine Iconoclast emperor Leo the Isaurian, who was indeed a great opponent of St John; though as John remained in Islamic Damascus, the Emperor was unlikely to have been able to reach him himself. Upon praying in front of an icon of the Theotokos his hand was miraculously restored. In thanksgiving, he had a silver replica of his hand fashioned and attached it to the icon. Naïve people were surprised at seeing three hands on the holy icon (two of Theotokos plus one more) and named the icon “three-handed” (Tricherousa)[citation needed].

John Damascene became a monk at Mar Sabbas monastery outside of Jerusalem and gave the icon to the monastic community there. Later the icon was given as a present to St. Sava, who gave it to the Hilandar. Until very recently the icon was formally the abbot of Hilandar, with monks elected to serve as its deputy. This icon has two feast days: July 11 [O.S. June 28] and July 25 [O.S. July 12] .

Art historians think the style of the icon today is more likely from the 14th century, and it may be a copy or re-painting of an earlier prototype.[4] Another version brought to Moscow in 1661 became famous, and resulted in many Russian copies.[5][6]