"Gracious Sky", the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary: description, history, meaning, prayers

What is the icon "Gracious sky"? What is she famous for? You will find answers to these and other questions in the article. is the image of the Queen of Heaven. This is a special face, which hastened to bow from all parts of the country. The icon is still famous for its strength and perfect wonders.


According to the legend, the icon we are considering brought as a blessing to her parents in Moscow from Lithuania Sofia Vitovtovna - the spouse of the greatest Prince Vasily I. The name of the icon goes back to the “Mother of God” verse of the 1st hour (written on the icon inside the edge of the aurora): Fertile? Heaven, as you have come forth, is the Sun of Truth. "

fertile sky icon

The list of faces for the Archangel Cathedral, located in the Moscow Kremlin (to the left of the Tsar's Gate, in the surrounding row of the iconostasis) was made on the model delivered by Sofia in 1678-1680. He created the isographs of the Armory.For the chapel of the Exaltation of the Cross of the Lord (Kremlin Terem Palace), the master Poznansky Vasily in 1682 painted an image-appliqué.

The iconography recreates the sight of John the Theologian - his wife, dressed in the sun. The Blessed Virgin is painted to its full height. With her left hand she holds the God-child. A sickle of the moon is drawn under her feet, and a solar mandorla shines around her figure. The heads of Jesus and Mary are crowned with crowns.


The celebration of the icon "Gracious heaven" is celebrated on All Saints Week, as well as on March 6 (19).

Deeply honored lists of the image are stored in the Moscow churches of the Archangel Gabriel (Chistye Prudy) and Trinity (Sparrow Hills).

When to pray?

What do the icon of "Blessed Sky" pray for? Believers ask her for healing from physical and mental ailments. She is begged to return to the Christian faith of those who sin too much.

Many of this image of the Queen of Heaven is referred to in the words of the pleading "What are we speaking of." The icon "Gracious Heaven" enjoys a special veneration in Moscow. After all, it is here since ancient times.


In the Cathedral of the Archangel and today is kept the beloved icon of the Virgin. The veneration of the image began in the XIX century.It is connected with the works of Metropolitan Philaret (Drozdov). It was he who, during the restoration of the iconostasis of the cathedral in 1853, ordered to gather information about the icon. In the non-preserved inventory of the XVII century, it was stated that the image is a duplicate made at the behest of Tsar Feodor Alekseevich by the craftsmen of the Armory with the ancient icon kept in the cathedral.

On the emergence of the original icon "Blessed Sky" there are several versions. The first was very popular among archaeologists and Kremlin ministers. She says that this image is the sanctuary of Constantinople, which was brought by Sofia Vitovtovna from Smolensk, the daughter of the Lithuanian prince and the spouse of Vasily Dmitrievich - the prince of Moscow. Sophia from Constantinople was sent by the patriarch in blessing to the inhabitants of the Orthodox Smolensk, even before he was conquered by the pagan prince Vitovt.

 Cathedral of the Archangel

This legend appeared on the basis of the famous recording in the Trinity Chronicle for 1398 about the bringing of many ancient icons from Smolensk, as well as fragments of the “Stasov's passions” brought from Tsargrad. The version about the Byzantine roots of the most ancient image was firmly entrenched in all printed editions of the XIX-XX centuries about the wonderful images of the Mother of God.

You must admit that the history of the icon "Grace of Heaven" is very interesting. The second assumption about the probable location of the original icon before its appearance in Russia is based on data obtained from the Klintsovsky isographic original (18th century). It states that the image was brought from Lithuania by Sophia Fominichnaya, wife of the sovereign John III. At the same time, attention is focused on the “Western translation” of the icon. This version is mainly based on the iconography itself from the Archangel Cathedral, which belongs to the prototype, which was identical to the Vilna Icon suburb, which was revered in the suburb of Vilna, and which appeared in 1341 in the monastery. In the Vilna image, the Mother of God was painted standing on the moon, and the angels above her head held a royal tiara.


In the XIX-XX centuries, the celebration of the icon of the Mother of God "Grace of Heaven" was accomplished several times, as we have said above. This image, combining the spiritual culture of the West and the East, was honored by both Christians and foreigners.

Sofya Vitovtovna

It should be noted that every day after the end of the liturgy in the Cathedral of the Archangel the prayer was also read in front of the icon (on Fridays - with water consecration and akathist).Many believers brought candles, oil and lamps to the image.

It is known that he healed one Lutheran, who saw him in a dream. She immediately sent her governess to read a prayer before the image of her health. The maid served this command for two months, after which the sick lady recovered and began to attend prayers in the cathedral herself.

Moscow icon

The description of the icon "Gracious Heaven" is well known to many. So what's on it? The image depicts the Mother of God in full growth with the baby Jesus in her arms, who sits on the right. The hands of the Blessed Virgin, holding the baby, are crossed. She laid her right hand with a patronizing gesture on the left, with which she holds the white boards.

Little Jesus is drawn as if he turned left. He presses the gospel to his breast with his left hand, and blesses people with his right. The Virgin Mary and her son are surrounded by an oval bright red radiant mandorla. Masters filled it with yellow-ocher rays emanating from the figures. They are like rays of flame.

icon of the Mother of God fertile sky

It should be noted that this icon is located in the Archangel Cathedral. But we continue further. The background of the icon is blue-green, painted with fluffy clouds.In the upper part of the image there is an inscription: “What can we say about the Grace of God? Vossiya? Thou shade the sun of the truth the first hour).

To the right and left of the halo of Our Lady there are generally accepted designations of her name: "ΘY" and "MR." The letters of the name of Christ are inscribed on the nimbus of the Virgin Mary over His head: “IX.” Under the feet of the Blessed Virgin, traces of the countess, outlining the moon sickle, were saved.


The icon of the Mother of God "Grace of grace" refers to drawings that reproduce verses 1 and 5 of Chapter XII of the revelation of the Theologian John. The iconographic model of these paintings appeared in Germany in the 15th century. In New York, there is the Metropolitan Museum, which preserves the amazing stained glass brought from the Middle Rhine (1480-1490). It depicts the Madonna with the baby on the crescent. Her head is crowned with a crown. The golden rays that form the mandorla shine around the figures.

In Western Europe, such images were very popular: they can be found in sculpture, engravings, stained glass and miniatures.Various types of this painting are widespread in the art of Poland. They came to Russia through Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus in the XVII century.

The symbolic meaning of the “wife clothed in the sun” is already revealed in the “Interpretation on the Apocalypse” of Saint Andrew, Metropolitan of Caesarea (V century), who understands the Apostolic Church. Other allegorical images of this fragment from the Apocalypse, in accordance with the explanation of St. Andrew, mean: the serpent - “the devil”, the moon - “the faith of the bath freed and cleansed from corruption”.

icon gracious sky what helps

In the spiritual Russian culture of the 15th-16th centuries, the new iconography of the “wife dressed in the sun” was the personification of “Our Lady-Church, pursued by the dragon-heresy”, moving to where the Orthodox kingdom of Moscow shone, replacing the Byzantine and Roman (messages of the famous monk Philothea) .

It is known that the icon of the Archangel Cathedral was painted at the end of the XVII century. It was then that in the Word on the Protection of St. Rostov Dmitry the apocalyptic reflection of the Wife was connected with the face of the Virgin Mary, praying for peace, in the same Messianic meaning. This last symbolic value of the image of "wife,dressed in the sun ”is characteristic of most versions of the iconography“ Grace of God ”, which are the countless faces of the Most Pure Virgin in the paintings of temples of Yaroslavl XVII-XVIII centuries.

The earliest picture, dating back to the iconographic version of “Gracious Heaven”, is the image saved in Nikitinki in the temple of the Holy Trinity. This icon dates from the 40s of the 17th century and is located in the local row of the southern aisle. On it, the Most Pure Virgin is drawn with little Christ in his left hand. A crown is visible on her head. Oval halo shines around her figure. Below are the kneeling Khozovit Georgy and the Cretan Andrei - co-saints of the founder of the church Nikitnikov Gregory and his son Andrei. On this icon there is no crescent under the feet of the Mother of God and the rays of radiance.

Another version of the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary "Grace of God", similar to Western designs, is presented in the image performed by Poznan Vasily for the Church of the Crucifixion (Grand Kremlin Palace) in 1682. Here, the Queen of Heaven stands on a crescent, and soaring angels are drawn on the inner border of cloudy lights.

The closest analogue of the venerated icon of the Archangel Church is the image in the Tretyakov Gallery, created in the XVIII century.It is identical to one of the most common Western icons with three flying cherubs and the moon under the legs of the Wife.

Lists of icons

The most revered list of images from the Archangel Cathedral is the icon, preserved in the winter chapel of the Resurrection Church of the Romanov-Borisoglebsk (the city of Tutaev, Yaroslavl Region). This copy was commissioned in 1900 to the director of the restoration workshop, Y. Ye. Yepanechnikov, for the sacristy of the Dormition of the Queen of Heaven in the estate of Senator V. P. Mordvinova (village Vaulovo, Romanov-Borisoglebsky district, Yaroslavl province).

The icon is made in an academic style: it is painted in oil on tin and equipped with a wooden frame. The Virgin Mary with little Jesus is depicted without radiance-mandrols and without crowns. The rite of consecration and blessing of the image was performed in St. Petersburg, in the dwelling of Count V. P. Mordvinov (Znamenskaya Street, Building 9) as a servant of the Church of St. John the Divine (Leushinsky Inn) by Jerusalem Eugene.

Image value

What is the meaning of the icon "Gracious sky"? Rostov Dmitry spoke about this image of the Virgin, as a patroness, who prays for the whole world.There is an opinion that on this icon the All-Princess is depicted in the form in which She appears to all mankind before the second coming of Christ.

icon description fertile sky

This image belongs to a special group called “Akathist”, the meaning of which is the glorification of the Queen of Heaven.

What helps?

So what helps the icon "Gracious Sky"? We have already written that it is customary to turn to this shrine for the help of the Most Pure Virgin at ailments of bodily and mental disorders. It is known that this face contributes both in private life and in public affairs. This icon is usually pray for this:

  • the Virgin Mary women are asked to give birth to healthy babies and happy marriage;
  • men pray for deliverance from envious and detractors;
  • the image is asked to protect from misfortunes and disasters;
  • they come to the shrine and before a long journey so that the Theotokos protects them from harm along the way;
  • pray for protection from sudden death in order to have time to repent before death;
  • asking for healing from mental and physical ailments, from drinking and various addictions;
  • the rulers come to the Blessed Virgin for guidance and help in governing the state, and also ask her to protect the country from disasters.

The Queen of Heaven becomes the patroness of every believer who comes to Her with heartfelt pleas, saves him from enemies and slanderers, influences the successful completion of any work begun and in God's life gives God the grace. Some parishioners read a special prayer intended for this icon, while others ask the Mother of God for help in their own words.

Where to worship the shrine?

Medal of grace

The holy face can be seen:

  • in the chapel of the Holy Trinity (Nikitinka);
  • in the Cathedral of the Archangel;
  • in the Resurrection Cathedral (city of Tutaev);
  • in the church of the Crucifixion of Christ (Kremlin Grand Palace).

It should be noted that the icon kept in the Church of the Resurrection is the last image to which the righteous John of Kronstadt offered his prayers.


Did you know about the existence of the “Grace of Heaven” medal? It is known that the Christian church encourages ministers and parishioners not only with complacent teachings, but also trophies that have great spiritual value for everyone. The medal depicts an image that repeats the face of the icon "Gracious heaven", which pilots also pray. After all, she patronizes the Russian Air Force.

This medal was created by the Orthodox Christian Orthodox movement in 2001 in order to be awarded for the work and service of protecting the air borders of the Fatherland, the development of transport communications, space exploration, and a significant contribution to the strengthening of the defense of the Russian Federation.

The Medal "Gracious Sky" is made in the form of a circle with a wide board, the frontal zone is decorated with the face of the Most Pure Virgin with a small Christ in her arms in the sun's rays. On the reverse side there is a Christian cross and the phrase “God is with us” written in Old Slavic letters. Along the circle there is also an inscription: “Gracious Sky. Russian Orthodox.

The medal is attached to the pentagonal block by means of an ear and a ring. The pad itself is wrapped with a sky-colored silk ribbon with two narrow gold stripes at the edges. The medal is made of brass, has a pin mount. Its diameter is 32 mm. This is a great gift to pilots, as the icon depicted on the award keeps all the winged fighters!

Related news

Gracious Sky, the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary: description, history, meaning, prayers image, picture, imagery

Gracious Sky, the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary: description, history, meaning, prayers 100

Gracious Sky, the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary: description, history, meaning, prayers 62

Gracious Sky, the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary: description, history, meaning, prayers 18

Gracious Sky, the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary: description, history, meaning, prayers 28

Gracious Sky, the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary: description, history, meaning, prayers 83

Gracious Sky, the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary: description, history, meaning, prayers 76

Gracious Sky, the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary: description, history, meaning, prayers 52

Gracious Sky, the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary: description, history, meaning, prayers 91