From the great Solovki Monastery located on the Solovki Archipelago shores of the White Sea in northern Russia, this icon was sent out of the monastery when it was confiscated by the Soviets and transformed into a most infamous prison camp. Many former church dignitaries, bishops, and monks were imprisoned there and killed by this Godless authority.
The full title of this icon “Stone Cut From the Mountain by No Human Hand,” refers to the sixth ikos of the Akathist Hymn, which in turn refers to Daniel 2:34-35. Christ is the rock uncut by human hands for “that rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4), while the Virgin symbolizes the heavens that allow the rock to fall. Her clothes are interwoven with clouds, and the rainbow unfolds from her bosom, a sign of the covenant of God with man.
Pointing with her right hand to her Son, the Virgin indicates that the solution to every problem in life can be found by looking to Jesus Christ, the source of all goodness and also all solace in our difficulties. This pointing of the way is the meaning of Hodegetria. When we look to Him, she will always be close to us.