The Ukrainian icons, unfortunately still little known in Italy [as well as in the world], will not have the abundance of gold found in the Byzantine and Slavic ones, but they are richer in color and light, to teach how heaven blesses the earth through its light.
The origin of the devotion to this Ukrainian icon originates from the holy prince Igor Olegovich, who ascended the throne of Kiev in 1146. He was involved, despite himself, in a war of which he became an innocent victim due to the jealousy of his older brother.
During a bloody battle between the forces of Prince Igor and those of Izyaslav Mstislavovitch, the brother passed on to the enemy, betraying Igor who was dethrone, was defeated. Humiliated and was captured and locked in a cold room with no doors and windows in the hope that he would die soon.
However, when they returned to see his corpse, they discovered that he had survived praying and crying in front of an icon of the Holy Virgin of they now call in honor of his memory, Igorevskaya. Disgruntled, his persecutors tortured him, while his only desire was now to remain imprisoned in prayer.
On September 19, 1147, the rebels broke into the church of the monastery of Theodore where Igor was recollected in prayer before the little Virgin of Tenderness with the child on her cheek, as in the contemporary icon of Vladimir during the Divine Liturgy. Despite his brother’s attempts to avoid the saint’s death, he was led to the slaughterhouse earning heaven through a bloody martyrdom.
Subsequently the devotion among the people was born and with it also miracles began to follow one upon the other. The remains of Prince Igor were recovered and buried with honor only in 1150. His feast is set on June 18 in the modern calendar.
Soon the icon of the Igorevskaya was venerated as miraculous and was placed near the regal doors of the nave of St. John the Theologian in the Dormition Cathedral of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.
Until recently, the original painting was in the Dormition Cathedral at the Kiev Cave Monastery, until the icon disappeared in 1941 with the occupation of Kiev, it is now part of the collection of the Russian State Museum.