The "third" hand, made of argent, in the bottom left corner
|Artist||St John Damascene|
|Type||Eastern Orthodox Icon|
Bogorodica Trojeručica (Serbian Cyrillic: Богородица Тројеручица, Greek: Παναγία Τριχερούσα, Panayia Tricherousa, meaning "Three-handed Theotokos") or simply Trojeručica (Three-handed) is a famous wonderworking icon in the Serb Orthodox monastery of Hilandar on Mount Athos, Greece. It depicts Theotokos (Virgin Mary) with young Jesus in the hodegetria position, and is covered with a riza. It is the most important icon of the Serbian Orthodox Church. On the back of the icon is the painting of St Nicholas.
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. People were surprised at seeing three hands on the holy icon (two of Theotokos plus one more) and named the icon "three-handed" (Tricherousa).
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. Another version brought to Moscow in 1661 became famous, and resulted in many Russian copies.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Trojeručica.|
- Serbian Orthodox Municipality of Innsbruck: ЧУДОТВОРНА ИКОНА БОГОРОДИЦА ТРОЈЕРУЧИЦА (Serbian)
- Three Handed Virgin Icon at CatholicMax.com
- Hilandar Research Library: "Hilandar 800&20" - Exhibit Catalog, 1998
- "Treasures of the Holy Land: a visit to the places of Christian origins", by Veselin Kesich, Lydia W. Kesich
- Ikon Copies: MOTHER OF GOD THREE HANDED
- Slava Gallery, LLC: Online Catalog
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