Lady of Philerimos

Symbol of divine providence for
 the People of Montenegro

Symbol for the times
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Cetinje is a town of immense historical heritage, founded in the 15th century. It became the center of Montenegrin life and both a cradle of Montenegrin/Serbian culture and an Eastern Orthodox religious center. It is because of this and the heroic legend born after its eternal resistance from Ottoman intrusions, that it was nicknamed Serbian Sparta1 (Српска Спарта). It is because of its heritage as a long-term Montenegrin capital that it is today the honorary capital of Montenegro.
Black Madonna
Christian tradition states that he was the first iconographer, and painted pictures of the Virgin Mary (The Black Madonna of Częstochowa) and of Peter and Paul.  While there will never be scientific evidence to support the tradition that Luke painted icons  it was widely believed in earlier centuries, particularly in Eastern Orthodoxy. The tradition also has support from the Saint Thomas Christians of India who claim to still have one of the Theotokos icons that St Luke painted and Thomas brought to India.[10]
Black Madonna of Czestochowa,
Faustinus and Jovita Generally, the two saints are portrayed as Roman military, often with the sword in a handful in the palm of martyrdom. The church dedicated to them held the Madonna icon from 7 years between its flight from Rhodes and its new home on Malta. The church is an ancient city and comune in the Lazio region of central Italy,
The Battle of the Nile (also known as the Battle of Aboukir Bay) took place on 1 August 1798. The battle effectively ended Napoleon's ambition to take the war to the British in India. The forces Napoleon had brought to Egypt were stranded. Napoleon attempted to march north along the Mediterranean coast but his army was defeated at the Siege of Acre by Captain Sir Sidney Smith. Napoleon then left his army and sailed back to France, evading detection by British ships. Given its huge strategic importance, some historians  regard Nelson's achievement at the Nile as the most significant of his career, Trafalgar notwithstanding. Not content to rest on his laurels, Nelson then rescued the Neapolitan royal family from a French invasion in December 1797. During his time in Naples he fell in love with Emma Hamilton, who became his mistress.
Tsar Paul I of Russia.
On 26 September 2006, a statue of Maria Feodorovna was unveiled near her favourite Cottage Palace in Peterhof. Following a service at Saint Isaac's Cathedral, she was interred next to her beloved husband Alexander III in the Peter and Paul Cathedral on 28 September 2006, 140 years after her first arrival to Russia and almost 78 years after her death. In 2005, Queen Margarethe II of Denmark and President Vladimir Putin of Russia and their respective governments agreed that the Empress's remains should be returned to Saint Petersburg in accordance with her wish to be interred next to her husband. A number of ceremonies took place from 23 to 28 September 2006.
National Museum of Montenegro
madona-of- [official web site]
National Museum of Montenegro []

Our Lady of Philerme @ SMOM website of the South African Relief Organisation of the Order of Malta

Our Lady of Philerme, The Sunday Times, Malta, April 26, 1998. @icons
Under the Constitution of King Peter II of Yugoslavia

The Grand Master's Box by F. A. Sinfield

Biographies - Dowager Empress Marie @ By Art Beeche

Filerimos hill (267 m) The hill took its name from a monk who came from Jerusalem in the 13th century bringing with him an icon of the Blessed Virgin painted by the Apostle Luke. The small church he build became later a basilica and then in the 14th century the Knights built in St. John, a large monastery with its excuisite bell-tower that one still sees today.

The site of Filerimos

Ialyssos & Filerimos [The church built by the Knights, in the 14th c., originally consisted of two hexagonal chapels in the area of the aisleless Byzantine church. It was modified in the late 15th c., though retaining its distinctive double form, since the icon of the Panayia Philerimou was worshipped by both Orthodox and Catholic Christians]

National Museum of Cetinje [where the icon is kept today]
The Njegos Network - Galleries - History and Culture - Cetinje National Museum
The National Museum of Montenegro
National museum

Madonna di Filermo | Madonna di Filermo

Die Insel Rhodos

More_sacrilege in Poland Feb2002 Replacing in the icon the Mother of Christ with the "mother of Lourdes"
History Of Rhodian Wine

Our Lady of Philerme also known as Phileremos; Philermos; Filermo; Filérimos; & Filéremos

The proper name of the Knights of St John is the Sovereign and Military Order of the Knights Hospitaler of St John of Jerusalem - the Knights of St John, the Knights of Rhodes, the Knights of Malta, and the Knights Hospitalers. Also used are  Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM); Hospitallars, and Chevaliers of Malta)


It measures 50 by 37cm and has a rich gold covering which leaves only the face of the Virgin exposed. On the gold covering there is the eight-pointed cross in enamel that radiated round the head of the Virgin. A precious halo surrounds the face, decorated with a row of precious stones and adorned with nine huge rubies alternating with diamonds set in a flower pattern. One of the rubies is missing but it seems it had been missing even when it was handed to King Alexander.

The robe of the Virgin has a neckline with a double tow of diamonds, a necklace of sapphires and diamonds, and hanging from it, six sapphires in the shape of drops. The central sapphire is missing and seems to have been replaced with an earring. Surrounding the picture is a gold frame, with winged angels at the corners, and trophies of the Order in the middle.
Russian Orthodox Church
Since 1798, the Orthodox Church in Russia as the day celebrated 'the Maltese relics' (as they are called in the Russian Orthodox Church calendar) were celebrated on October 12th.  On that day in 1799 (October 12, according to the Julian calendar), together with the other precious relics (the right hand of St John the Baptist and a fragment of the True Cross), the icon was carried in a long coach-procession followed by huge crowds from St Petersburg to Gatchina, the residence of Paul I, where it was exposed in the cathedral for public veneration. Until 1916 the genuine icon and the other relics used to be brought to Gatchina on October 12 every year. The main depository of the 'Maltese relics' was the Grand Cathedral of the Winter Palace in St Petersburg. However The Romanov Family was considered the lawful owner of the relics not the church.
A venerated copy for Rhodes
philermo.jpg (50963 bytes)
The copy arrived in Rhodes in a very damaged state and without the precious riza in 1925 in answer to a request by the Italian Government which, following the occupation of Rhodes in 1912, had undertaken the rebuilding of the Sanctuary on Mount Phileremos. The request had actually been for the true icon but, as its whereabouts were at the time unknown, the copy was sent instead.

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The copy remained in Rhodes until after World War II when, following the annexation of Rhodes to Greece, it was transferred to Italy [in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli (Porziuncola, Assisi)].

The existence of the Icon became known in the 1990's
There is another version of the story which differs slightly in descripting the trip from Denmark to Montenegro. This has the dowager queen Dagmar of Denmark  bequeathing the icon to her niece, Yelena Karageorgévitch, daughter of Peter I of Yugoslavia, and of Zorka, of Montenegro. And that Princess Yelena, from Cannes, in full agreement with her cousin, Queen Elena of Italy, had arranged to have the icon hidden in a monastery in the mountains of Cettigne, "in the midst of people who were very loyal to Petrovitch Niegosch." [(The Times of Malta 28th May 1997 page 60, provides the information that the relics were bequeathed to Princess Yelena. The Sunday Times of Malta April 26th 1998, page 42 ART, provides that they were entrusted to King Alexander I. ]

After the end of the War, the Government placed the relics in the Museum at Cetinje where they were kept in the reserve collection and never exhibited. (The Sunday Times of Malta April 26th 1998, page 42 ART). Despite the fact that the relics remained in Yugoslavia, a myth emerged within the still existing Order of St. John, that the Monastery gave the relics to the Nazis who removed them, never to be seen again).

A symbol for the times?
"At the threshold of the third millennium of the Christian era, it is highly appropriate that we should be making a reappraisal of this holy relic. It has happened many times for a miraculous relic to disappear from public view for years and be considered lost, for it then to be brought back by Providence. This is the case with the 'Maltese relics'. They accompanied the Order of St John in their struggles in Rhodes (1306-1522). They protected the knights in their wanderings in the Mediterranean (1523-30). They helped them to survive in Malta (1530-1798). For almost 120 years the relics were closely connected with the Russian emperors and for decades with the Yugoslav kings. Lately they became associated with the Cetinje monastery in Montenegro, where they are kept today. And here again Providence intervened. It is very symbolical that exactly during the visit of Patriarch of All Russia Alexis II to Yugoslavia in 1993 the icon "reappeared before the world". And it is precisely Russia that has taken the initiative of returning its replica to Malta. The international symposium in Malta is meant to discuss religious, historical and artistic aspects of the icon. And I am sure that as the result of our session the miraculous nature of the relic will once again show and new evidence will emerge to prove that it is truly a bond which unites people. And we all form part of this unity."

Dr Francis Cachia in his published interview [ The Times, Malta ]with Russian Ambassador Dr Sergey S. Zotov as part of publicity for an upcoming gathering to discuss the icon 202 years after it left the islands leaving.  Participants included the Russian Metropolitan Kirill, the Montenegrin Metropolitan Amphilohius and high-ranking representatives from the Holy See, and others who came to Malta to take part in the event.

The Black Madonna Today
In 2006, relaunched Polish pop-culture magazine Machina  caused considerable controversy with this cover showing pop star Madonna with her daughter, Lourdes in the garments of the much venerated Madonna long associated with protecting Poland,  – the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, considered to be the holiest painting in Poland, with thousands of pilgrims walking across Poland to reach it every year:

 There are about 450-500 Black Madonnas in Europe depending on how they are classified. There are at least 180 Vierges Noires in France and there are hundreds of non-medieval copies too. A few are in museums but most are in churches or shrines and are venerated by devotees. Many are associated with miracles and some attract substantial numbers of pilgrims

The interest in these images is growing for many reasons although the great success of the book and movie The Da Vinci code gets considerable credit. [more]


Its fame as a wonder-working image was known throughout the lands bordering the Aegean Sea.

The wondrous icon got its name from her sanctuary on Mount Phileremos in Rhodes. The icon was already the centre of a popular cult when the Knights of St. John conquered the island in 1306-9. The Rhodians, who venerated it under the title of Qeovtoko" Filevremou~ ('The Mother of God of Phileremos') piously believed that it was painted by St. Luke and brought to Rhodes from Jerusalem about the year 1000.


Saint Luke the Apostle
Author of the new testament and widely considered the first iconographer

Image:Evangelist Luka pishustchiy ikonu.jpg

Luke the Evangelist painting the first icon of the Virgin Mary. Luke is also said to be the author of the most well known the Black Madonna of Czestochowa as well as the "Salus Populi Romani", now in the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome, the Madonna of St Mary in Via Lata, and those of the Pantheon and the Ara Coeli.
From Rhodes,  the great island light of the Mediterranean whose wealth stemmed from its role as sea-faring trader of the joy within each of its famous  amphoras of wine comes a little known Black Madonna who must first complete a Grand Tour before settling in a place of honor at the planet's newest nation---Montenegro
Our story begins at the stronghold of Dionysus, god of wine who spread his magic potion wide and far from this well located port on the Island of Rhodes where the icon may have even been created by the most respected of the New Testament authors Luke.

Rhodes location near the mainland of Asia, its importance in the Hellenic world being a pivotal point of contact for the Greeks and the civilizations of the Orient, was disproportionate to its size.

Rhodes was the location of the Colossus of Rhodes. Helios was worshipped in various places of the Peloponnesos, but especially on Rhodes, where each year gymnastic games were held in his honor. The University connected to Alexandria was the most prominent proponent of a heliocentric solar system which was contrary to both Greek and later Christian views of the Universe
East Greek amphora from Rhodes, 530–500 B.C.

Rhodes was one of the first islands in the Aegean to adopt the cultivation of the grape vine and the viticulture as a mainstay of its economy. Aided by its powerful naval forces, Rhodes was a foremost merchant of wines and crops by the mid 7th century B.C. Rhodes was also able to undertake cereal trade on a massive scale, which brought incredible wealth to the island.

The first reference to Rhodian wine is by Aeschynes, an Athenian politician who was exiled to Rhodes in 330 BC. In his fifth letter he mentions that he stayed in a small house with a garden in Kamiros, and that he was offered oil, honey, and an excellent wine, which he appreciated as better than the Athenian one.

“Rhodian wines are loaded in the port of Ialyssos, and reach Piraeus in four days if the weather is good. The grape producers of the state of Ialyssos have the best vineyards in the lush plains of the state of Rhodes. Ialyssos is the birthplace of famous Diagoras and his offspring, who have achieved great victories in the Olympic Games, and statues of himself, his children, and grandchildren adorn the sacred Altis in Olympia. The port of Camiros does business with nearby places, whereas Lindos trades in the whole of the Eastern Mediterranean.”

According to Diodorus from Sicily, when the new city of Rhodes was founded by merging Lindos, Camiros, and Ialyssos, Rhodians erected in the lower part of the city, near the marketplace, a temple called Dionysion, to honor Dionysus, god of wine.

The summit of Philerimos was the site of Ialysos, one of the three ancient cities of Rhodes. Ialyssos was sung of by Pindar and as its pre-Hellenic suffix indicates it was inhabited from ancient times by a race of people known for their merits. In Pindar's ode, the island was said to be born of the union of Helios the sun god and the nymph Rhode, and the cities were named for their three sons.

Proud and clever, integrated with rich resident foreign merchants attracted by the ancient Mediterranean's most sophisticated banking system, as well as a blessed geographic location off the Turkish coast and not far away from Alexandria the pride of Ptolemaic Egypt, Rhodes also attracted some great minds.

Its famous schools of philosophy and science and literature and rhetoric, shared masters with Alexandria: the Athenian rhetorician Aeschines who formed a school at Rhodes; Apollonius of Rhodes; the the father of astronomy Aristarchus, and astronomers  Hipparchus and Geminus, the rhetorician Dionysios Trax. Its school of sculptors developed a rich, dramatic style that can be characterized as "Hellenistic Baroque".

However in 43 B.C. Rhodes was devastated by the Roman general Crassus and never regained its pivotal political and commercial role in the Eastern Mediterranean, although it remained an academic centre, attracting many young rich aristocratic Romans to learn rhetoric and philosophy.

Saint Paul brought Christianity to the island. Rhodes reached a second zenith in the third century, and was then by common consent the most civilized and beautiful city in Hellas.

Today visitors will be able to explore the restored Byzantine church of our Lady of Philerimos, a chapel with 15th century frescoes, and the ruined Castle of the Knights.

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"Throughout our Order, the birthday of Our Lady is kept with great solemnity in thanksgiving for the raising of the Turkish siege of Malta on 8 September 1565. At Valletta, in the Order's church of St. John the Baptist, there was venerated an ancient icon of Our Lady which had originally been brought from Jerusalem to the shrine on Mount Phileremos on Rhodes (hence the title).

An exact copy is now one of the treasures of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels at Assisi.
This feast, which traces the privileges of Our Lady to Christ her son, was introduced by Pope Sergius I (687-701), following Eastern tradition. Our Lady's Birthday is closely linked with the coming of the Messiah: it is the promise, the preparation and the fruit of salvation. Mary was the dawn before the Sun of Justice and the herald to all the world of the joy brought by our Saviour."

[From: The Missal with readings of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes, & of Malta, London 1997]

The Phileremos Madonna came to be considered the most precious possession by the Knights of St. John when it interceded on their behalf following prayers and veneration in key battles defending their island fortress of Rhodes from attackers. 



The Lady of  Philerimos icon was discovered in Rhodes by the Knights of St John while withdrawing from Palestine in 1306.

AMPORA -  Amphora of Fikellura style Rhodian workshop. It has palmettes below the handles and depicts an animal on the front and back. 6th c. BC.
6th c. BC. Amphora of Fikellura style Rhodian workshop
The Archaeological Museum of Rhodes is housed in the medieval building of the Hospital of the Knights. The building was begun in 1440 by Grand Master de Lastic with money bequeathed by his predecessor, Fluvian, and completed in 1489 by Grand Master d'Aubusson.

Fifteenth century travellers' accounts mention the citadel on Mount Phileremos and report on the icon with its sanctuary and adjoining monastery on which the Knights lavished their munificence. Two new chapels were added to the sanctuary by Grandmaster Pierre d'Aubusson after the siege of 1480 which, according to the eye-witness account of Guillaume Caoursin, had been settled in favour of the Knights by the intercession of the Virgin and St. John the Baptist. During the siege the icon had been transferred for safety inside the walls of the city and the same precaution was adopted in 1513 when there was a threat of an invasion, and in the siege of 1522. On the latter occasion it was placed in the church of St. Mark.

With the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Knights of Rhodes knew their turn would soon come. Thrown on the defensive, their life on the island of Rhodes kept them  perpetually on the alert. Naturally, they also transported the miraculous icon of the Virgin from Philerimos to St Mark's church in town. During the three months of the siege, fierce battles took place at various points around the fortified city of Rhodes, Fort St Nicholas being the point most seriously attacked. Having suffered great losses, the Turks broke the siege in August, 1480.

Some 40 years later, in 1522, the second great siege took place. By now Egypt had been conquered by the Ottomans and the expulsion of the knights from Rhodes was imperative because of the position of the island on the line of communications between Constantinople and Alexandria. This time it was Suleiman the Magnificent who prepared the attack and Grand Master Villiers l'Isle Adam who undertook the defence. The Turkish fleet numbered 300 ships and the invading army 200,000 men. As in the first siege, the fleet crossed the straits from Marmarice and started heavy bombardment of the city. But this time around they captured the fort of Philerimos to stop reinforcements coming to the aid of the knights from the west. One after another the city walls were breached at strategic points, with immediate assaults following. The sultan had posted himself on a watch tower made of ships' masts and, like Xerxes at the naval battle of Salamis, he was witnessing the battle from a vantage point.

Search Philerimos on Rhodes @ flickr
Sultan Suleiman was known as "the Magnificent" in the West he was always Kanuni Suleiman or "The Lawgiver" to his own Ottoman subjects

The knights sustained this great onslaught with remarkable bravery for six months. They capitulated only when their supplies were completely exhausted. The Ottomans had the great advantage that they could easily bring in reinforcements and supplies. On 20 December 1522 the capitulation was signed. Suleiman, in homage to their heroism, offered the knights the best possible terms - that after the evacuation of the city of Rhodes and of the castles they could sail to Crete in Turkish ships, free of charge, taking with them their arms and all their possessions. Furthermore, any civilians wishing to leave Rhodes could follow the knights with all their belongings. Nearly all the country folk remained but about half the citizens sailed away with the knights.

Once again the Knights of St John were homeless and roaming around Europe in search of a permanent home until, finally, in 1530, they established themselves in Malta, having been given this land as a fiefdom by Charles V. As for the Rhodeans, they had to endure long years of foreign occupation, four centuries under the Ottoman Turks and 30 years under the Italians, until they could become part of the Hellenic world again.

After the loss of Rhodes, the icon followed the Knights on their seven year exile and, between 1524- 27, it was venerated in the collegiate church of SS. Faustino and Giovita at Viterbo. In Malta it was placed in the church of St. Lawrence at Birgu where it escaped damage when the church was destroyed by fire in 1532. After the building of Valletta, it was transferred first to the church of the Virgin of Victories and subsequently to the conventual church when a chapel had been prepared to receive it.

Malta History
The siege of Malta - Arrival of the Ottoman fleet Matteo Perez d' Aleccio
The Ottomans invaded in 1565 undertaking the Great Siege of Malta which began on May 18 and lasted until September 8 when the Spanish fleet joined the battle.  


Ferdinand von Hompesch G. M.
1st German & last Grand Master of the Order of St. John also known as the Knights of Malta & Hospitallars
When Napoleon took over Malta on June 18, 1798, the abdicating Grandmaster von Hompesch took the icon to Trieste together with two important relics of the Order, the arm of St. John and a fragment of the Cross.
 It has been alleged that Napoleon himself took the ring that had been on the Hand of John the Baptist as his own. Also the jewels surrounding the Lady were removed as part of the looting by of Malta by the French troops.
Tsar Paul I of Russia transferred the icons to the Winter Palace in St Petersburg and reframed the image of the  Lady of Philerimos in Jewels. 'the Maltese relics' were celebrated on October 12  by Russian Orthodox Church with a procession
Ferdinand IV of Naples
was unable to fulfill his obligation as military protector of Malta but Ferdinand IV granted the dispossessed knights refuge and the Order set up administrative offices on Sicily in 1802 until 1834 when it moved to Rome

Russian history

Maria Feodorovna Dagmar of Denmark managed to take the Black Madonna image with her into exile in Copenhagen.
Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia (April 6, 1875 – April 20, 1960)


The philosophical and religious ideas of the Enlightenment were not sympathetic to the old ideals of crusading and holy war which regarded them as uncivilized ignorance. The elevation of the military to supranational ecclesiastical institutions above the rule of law of individual nations was not just rejected but seen as an opportunity to convert the property of the Order of St. John [aka Knights of Malta & Hospitallars] to the state.

The French Revolution of 1789, significantly weakened the Knights of Malta through loss of noble, sovereign and church support and despite the ability of the order to protect French interests in the Mediterranean in 1792 the Order's property in France was confiscated. However in 1793 the French envoy promised the Order on Malta French support should the British invade, but the promise did little to enlist support when in 1793, the French executed the longtime protector of the order, King Louis XVI.

In July 1797 Ferdinand von Hompesch from Germany was elected as grand master of the Malta based order although most brother first language was French and the official language was Italian. France and Italy, represented by the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily, Great Britain, Russia and Austria all had a strong interest in controlling Malta as part of a larger strategy of controlling the Mediterranean. The Maltese people were said to favor either French or British control in place of the Knights and the Knights did not trust them to fight along side of them.

Napoleon was in the process of was giving himself  total control of France. The new constitution would soon confirm the property rights of all those who had bought land taken from the Catholic Church during the revolution. This  measure would solidify Napoleon's support among the  middle classes.

On 9 June 1798, en route to Egypt, General Napoleon Bonaparte and the French fleet arrived at Malta and demanded it surrender. The Knights were conflicted since it was formed and pledged as a sacred duty to fight for Christians not against them and Hompesch as commanding officer never took the field. The decision to capitulate was not unanimous, as the Grand Master did not sign the document. The support he expected from the Order's allies did not eventuate as Spain refused to come to Malta's aid being an ally of France and Ferdinand IV of Naples had departed Naples for Sicily when the French occupied southern Italy and so was in no position to fulfill his obligation as military protector.

With the island surrendered Hompesch was allowed to take three sacred relics with him, the Hand of St John, relic of the true cross and the Lady of Philerimos which had resided on Malta since being brought there from Rhodes in 1530.  On the evening of 1 August the British fleet under Admiral Horatio Nelson caught up to the French fleet off the Egyptian Coast and defeated it the the Battle of the Nile. The treasure ship, loaded with the booty from the ransacked palaces and churches of Malta was sunk and has never been recovered.

With the loss of Malta, the only powerful remaining friend of the knights was the tsar of Russia. Hompesch sent the relics to Russian Tsar Paul I of Russia. who eventually became recognized as the head of the order although Hompesch remained in Trieste, Italy. The Czar, invested at a ceremony officiated over by Monsignor Lorenzo de Litta, the Apolostolic Delegate to St Petersburg, assumed the title of the 72nd Grand Master. Then the Florentine born, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Francis II (1768-1835) ordered his subject, von Hompesch, to relinquish the office of Grand Master and send the Order's relics to Austria's Russian ally and the new Grand Master despite the fact that the Tsar did not comply with the orders restrictions to be Catholic and unmarried.

On 12 October 1799, after the resignation of Hompesch, it was presented, together with the relics of the Hand of the Baptist and a splinter of the True Cross, to Tsar Paul I who had, meanwhile, been elected Grandmaster by a few rebel knights. Though the election was completely irregular, it was accepted in the hope that Paul's influence might regain Malta for the Knights. The presentation was made by the Order's representative, the Count de Litta, in the imperial residence of Gatchina about 40 kilometres outside St. Petersburg.

 Meanwhile the Maltese were revolting against French rule and the British were blockading the island. Hompesch attempted to further his alliance with Ferdinad  IV the King of Naples [1759-1806] for the Knights return and enlist the help of the Maltese people but the British who took Malta in September 1800 did were ambivalent on the return of the  Hospitallers to authority for Malta. The Tsar, who many believed was interested in the Knights because of the military value of Malta, demanded a Russian garrison be admitted and continued to negotiate with Bonaparte until his murder in March of 1801. His successor, Tsar Alexander [1801-25] took less interest in the Order of St. John.

After Paul's death in 1801, the icon, which had been reinvested with with a gold riza set with precious stones, was transferred to the Winter Palace at St. Petersburg. It survived the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 because, when the palace was stormed, it was in a church at Gatchina, together with the other relics of the Knights, for the annual celebration in their honour on the 12th of October.

Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Imperial Russia at right, Czar Nicholas II (center), and their mother (at left).
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Imperial Russia at right, Czar Nicholas II (center), and their mother Maria Feodorovna (at left). Olga and her sister, Xenia bequeathed  the madonna icon to the Russian Orthodox Bishops in Exile
In 1920, after various vicissitudes, the icon and the relics somehow found themselves in the luggage of the dowager empress, Maria Feodorovna, who had was brought to asylum via the Black Sea to London. by her nephew King George V who had sent the warship HMS Marlborough to retrieve his aunt. She settled near Copenhagen in her native Denmark. According to one version of the story, before she died in 1928, the empress entrusted the icons to her daughters, the Grand duchesses Xenia Alessandrowna and Olga Alessandrowna, who passed them to the President of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Bishops in Exile, Archbishop Antoniye of Kieff and Galizia
The icons were taken to the newly built Russian church in Berlin but, in 1929, they were transferred to Belgrade where in April 1932 they were officially consigned to the custody of Alexander I of Yugoslavia. They were kept in the chapel of the royal palace of Dedinje until 1941 when owing to the threat of the Nazi invasion they were,  sent to the Orthodox Monastery of Ostrog, near Niksic, in Montenegro.
Alexander I of Yugoslavia  kept the relics in the private Chapel of the Royal Palace in Belgrade.
Download This Ostrag monastery is the most famous  place of pilgrimage  in Montenegro. It is one of the most visited monasteries on the Balkans, and believers from all over the world, individually and in groups come here to visit it. It is the meeting point of all three confessions: Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Islam, because there is a belief that the bones of Sveti Vasilije Ostroski are miraculous


After the war the Lady of Philerimos was kept quietly at the museum in the ancient Montenegrin capital of Cetinje. Today visitors are able to see this historic, symbolic and many believe -- powerful icon situated in a "blue space".


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