A Hodegetria (Greek: Ὁδηγήτρια, literally: “She who shows the Way”; Russian: Одигитрия), or Virgin Hodegetria, is an iconographic depiction of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) holding the Child Jesus at her side while pointing to Him as the source of salvation for humankind. The Virgin’s head usually inclines towards the Child, who raises his hand in a blessing gesture. In the Western Church this type of icon is sometimes called Our Lady of the Way.
Feast of the Icon of the Xenophon Monastery
Sometimes also called the Directress, or “she who points the way,” this image depicts the Mother of God gesturing toward the Child on her lap. In 1730, the treasured icon disappeared from the Vatopedi monastery on Mt. Athos, where monks assumed it had been stolen, since their doors were locked. When the image turned up at the Xenophon Monastery, three hours away, monks from Vatopedi went there to get it and restored it to its place; but after it turned up at Xenophon twice more, all the brethren decided it was the Holy Virgin’s will to remain there. The monks of Xenophon celebrate the feast of the All-Holy Hodegetria on the first Sunday in October. Russian and Serbian Orthodox churches honor this icon on June 20 in the old calendar, July 3 in the new calendar.
Picture from “Mount Athos,” www.macedonian-heritage.gr.