The earliest accounts of this icon appear in the 12th century, linked to the memory of the Holy Great-Martyr Theodore Stratelates, a warrior, who in the fourth century suffered and was beheaded for his faith in Jesus Christ. Tradition states Saint Theodore Stratelates brought this icon more than once to people after the devastation wrought by the Tatars. For this reason, its primary title is the Saint Theodore, or "Feodorovskaya," Icon.
The icon became known as the "Feodorovskaya-Kostromskaya" Icon after the Dormition Cathedral, with a chapel in honor of Saint Theodore Stratelates, was built in Kostroma especially for it.
Once, as the Tatars were approaching Kostroma, Russian militia came out to meet them, carrying before them their holy Icon of the Mother of God. As the foes faced one another, between - them sped a mysterious rider. His purple mantel flapped in the breeze, and his golden shield glistened with a blinding light. The Russians recognized him to be the Holy Great-martyr Theodore Stratelates. Seized with fear, the Tatars ran from the field of battle. Thus was Kostroma saved.
This miracle-working icon is also linked in Russian history with the election of Michael Feodorovich Romanov to be tsar. After the lengthy time of troubles, an All-Russian Council was convened to choose a tsar, and emissaries were dispatched to the lpatiev Monastery (near Kostroma), where Michael Feodorovich had sought shelter, to ask him to accept the throne. The emissaries from Moscow brought with them the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God, and-from Kostroma, they brought the Feodorovskaya icon as well. They appeared before the elder Martha, the mother of the young Michael, and asked her to permit her son to be tsar. His mothers refused at first, citing Michael's youth, so the Archbishop of Riazan' took the Icon of the Mother of God into his hands, and addressed Martha and Michael with the following words: Why did the icons of the Most Holy Mistress travel with us on a long journey. If you will not listen to us, then for the sake of the Mother of God, be disposed towards mercy, and do not anger the Lord God. The elder Martha could not stand against such words. She fell to her knees before the Feodorovskaya Icon and said, Thy will be done, O Lady. I convey my son into thy hands. Set him on the path of truth, for the good both of himself and [our] native land! Thus, before this icon was chosen the first tsar of the house of the Romanovs.
On the 300th anniversary of the House of the Romanovs, in Tsarskoye Selo (now called Puskhin), there was erected (1909-1912) the "Feodorovsky Sovereign's Cathedral," in memory of the appearance of the Feodorovskaya Icon of the Mother of God. It is quite possible that the image now in the Church of the Resurrection of Christ in the Wood, which serves as the cathedral in Kostroma, is the "original" image of this holy icon. If so, it is one of those rare miracle-working and much-revered ancient icons that remain in the Church and not in some museum.
In terms of iconography, it is an icon of ancient Byzantine origin, of the type known as Tender Mercy, and closely resembles the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God. Its main distinguishing feature is the bare left foot of the Infant Jesus Christ, which the Mother of God holds in her right hand.
Icon fm www.pravoslavie.ru