Here is another multiple icon — this time with no quarter devoted only to various saints. Instead, all four main images are Marian icons:
First — at upper left — is the type you should be very familiar with by now — the “Joy to All Who Suffer.” So we need not deal with that one, other than to remind you that any accompanying saints vary from example to example. You will find a description of the type in this previous posting, as well as in others via the archives:
At upper right we find this:
The title inscription above the shoulder identifies it as the ФЕОДОРОВСКЯ ПРЕСВЯТЫЯ БОГОРОДИЦЫ/FEODOROVSKAYA PRESVYATUIYA BOGORODITSUI — the “‘FEODOROV’ MOST HOLY MOTHER OF GOD.”
The Feodorovskaya or “Theodore” icon is another of those mistakenly attributed by tradition to St. Luke. Its tale says it was in Russia as early as the beginning of the 12th century, and was placed in a monastery in Gorodets that was then burned by Batu Khan and his Mongol horde. Yet supposedly the icon survived the flames.
The tale continues with Prince Vasiliy of Kostroma (younger brother of Alexander Nevskiy), who got lost in the forest while hunting near Kostroma on August 16, 1239. He noticed an icon in a pine tree (there’s that common “icon in a tree” motif again). When he attempted to take the icon down, it suddenly rose up into the air. Vasiliy then went into Kostroma and told the people and clergy there about the icon, and when they went to look for it, they found it was there in the forest again. So after praying before the icon, they took it into Kostroma and placed it in the cathedral, where it attracted crowds. Supposedly, while Vasiliy was out hunting, a richly-dressed warrior was seen walking through Kostroma’s streets, carrying an icon in his hands. This was understood to be a visitation by the warrior saint Feodor/Theodore, and so the icon was called the “Feodor/Theodore” icon — the Feodorovskaya.
The tale relates that when the Kostroma Cathedral then burnt, the Feodorovskaya icon was again found unharmed in the ashes.
The Tatars again came to pillage the city in 1260, but the Prince took the Feodorovskaya icon into battle, and the legend says that such a brilliant and dazzling light shone from it that it blinded and burned the Tatars, who fled in disarray.
Later the Kostroma Cathedral again caught fire, and when the people went to rescue the icon, they found it hovering above the flames. The people prayed to have it not abandon them because of their sins, and it descended and was retrieved, and later placed in a stone church.
The Fedorovskaya icon was carried by a group of Kostroma clergy in their meeting with a delegation of clergy and boyars and others from Moscow, who had come bearing the Vladimir icon to ask the young Mikhail Feodorovich to become Tsar. Eventually he was persuaded, and became the first Tsar of the House of Romanov — the ruling Dynasty that ended with the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II in 1917. So the Feodorovskaya icon was considered an important image for the Romanovs.
Here is the icon type at lower left:
The title above her shoulder reads:
ОТ БЕД СТРAЖДУЩИХЪ
OT BED STRAZHDUSHCHIKH”
Ot Bed Strazhdushchikh means “Of the Suffering from Distress,” but this type is sometimes given the fuller title Избавление От Бед Страждущих — Izbavlenie Ot Bed Strazhdushchikh — “Deliverance of the Suffering From Distress” — which makes a bit more sense. In the Canon to the Mother of God are the words Богородица Владычица, поспеши и от бед избавь нас/Bogoroditsa Vladuichitsa, pospeshi i ot bed izabav’ nas — “Mother of God, Mistress, hasten and from distress deliver us.” Little is known of its origin, but it was a popular image among the Old Believers.
Here is the icon type at lower right:
Now as you can tell, it is a version of the Млекопитательница/Mlekopitatelnitsa/”Milk-Nourishing” icon type, but this example is given the title inscription
БЛАЖЕННОЕ ЧРЕВО ПРЕСВЯТЫЯ БОГОРОДИЦЫ
BLAZHENNOE CHREVO PRESVYATUIYA BOGORODITSUI
“‘BLESSED WOMB’ MOST HOLY MOTHER OF GOD
The “Blessed Womb” type is essentially the same in appearance as the Barlovskaya icon, which supposedly appeard in 1392. But be careful — there is also a locally-venerated icon called “Blessed Womb” that looks nothing like this type. Here is an example:
It is not hard to tell that the “Blessed Womb” title derives from Luke 11:27: “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts that you have sucked.”
To complete the discussion of this multiple icon, we need only look at the image in the central circle:
The name inscription identifies him as СВЯТЫЙ РАФАИЛЪ АРХАНГЕЛ/SVYATUIY RAFAIL ARKHANGEL/”HOLY ARCHANGE RAPHAEL.
Raphael was considered an angel of healing, and also a patron of travelers.