Hodegon Monastery

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The center of this exquisite triptych (three-paneled icon) shows the Virgin holding the Christ Child and pointing toward him with her right hand. This portrait type of the Virgin is known as "Hodegetria," named after a famous icon in the Hodegon monastery in Constantinople, believed in the Middle Ages to have been painted by Saint Luke the Evangelist. On the wings, two pairs of unnamed saints pay homage to the Virgin and Child. Barely visible traces of pigment and gold remain on this triptych, indicating that it was once brightly colored. The panels of the triptych were cut down at some point, and the wings and central section do not align perfectly, suggesting that this object might be the result of two earlier pieces being joined together.
For an eponymous monastery in Mystras, see Brontocheion.
Map of Byzantine Constantinople

The Hodegon Monastery (also Monastery of the Panaghia Hodegetria or Monastery of the Hodegoi) in Constantinople was allegedly[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]


  1. ^ see Cyril Mango, Constantinople as Theotokoupolis, in: Vassikali, Mother of God, Skira Editore, 2000, pp. 17-25, notes 15 and 58.
  2. ^ Warren Treadgold, A History of the Byzantine State and Society, Stanford 1997, ISBN 0-8047-2630-2.
  3. ^ see Robert Demangel / Ernest Mamboury, Le quartier des Manganes et la première région de Constantinople (Recherches françaises en Turquie, 2), Paris 1939, pp. 71–111.

Further reading[edit]

  • Alice-Mary Talbot, Hodegon Monastery, in: Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford Univ. Press 1991, vol. II p. 939.
  • Raymond Janin, Géographie ecclésiastique de l'Empire Byzantin ; pt. 1, vol. 3: Les églises et les monastères. 2. ed. Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris 1969, pp. 199–207.

Coordinates: 41°0′32.51″N 28°59′6.12″E / 41.0090306°N 28.9850333°E / 41.0090306; 28.9850333