Commemorated on June 20
The Hodegetria (Hodēgḗtria) Icon of the Mother of God is historically the first icon of the Church, painted by the Holy Evangelist Luke, as we sing in the Megalynarion of the Canon of Supplication to the Most Holy Theotokos: “May the lips of all the ungodly who do not venerate your sacred Hodegetria Icon, which the Holy Evangelist Luke has depicted for us, be silenced.”
According to the tradition of the Synaxaristés, Saint Luke painted the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos from life, and she received it with great joy and blessed it saying, “May the grace of Him Who was born of me be with this Icon.”
The Icon, which was rescued from Palestine, was sent to Constantinople, during the reign of Theodosios II the Younger by Empress Eudokίa, as a gift to the Emperor’s sister, Saint Poulkherίa, who placed it in the Monastery of the Guides (Μονή των Οδηγών), which she founded. Later it was moved to the Blachernae church.
The Icon performed countless miracles, such as the rescue of Constantinople from the Arabs in the year 717. It was destroyed by the Ottomans during the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.
A copy of the Icon can be found in the Monastery of Xenophontos on Mount Athos.
The Mother of God holds her Divine Child with her left hand, and with her right hand she indicates that the way we must follow on our earthly pilgrimage is that which leads us to Christ, Who said: “I am the way (οδός), and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, except through me” (John 14:6).