January 12, 2011

The Popska Icon of the Mother of God in Hilandari

Popska Icon of the Holy Virgin (Feast Day - January 12)

The Popska Icon of the Mother of God ("Priestly", "of the Priest" or "Popadiki") stands in the katholikon of Hilandari Monastery by the northeast column of the left kleros.

A certain heretical priest, having declared himself Orthodox, acted at the Hilandari Monastery with evil purpose, but he was punished. During the procession for the blessing of water he took this icon but stumbled, fell into the sea and drowned. Since that time the cross procession is always done with this icon, and invariably a priest carries it, so it was called "Priestly" by the Serbs.

Some say the heretical priest was rebuked for his heresy by Christ, which is why the hand of the Christ child is in an unusual position.

On its reverse side there is a painting of the Entrance of the Holy Virgin, by one of the best painters of the time. The same painter executed in 1360 the Great Deesis on the iconostasis of the Hilandari church, as well as the miniatures of the Evangelists in the Roman’s Gospel. The Panagia Popska was repainted in the 16th or 17th centuries, while the Entrance of the Virgin has retained its original form.