On July 6 1480, a highly venerated icon of the Other of God was brought from the ancient city of Vladimir to Moscow. Grand Prince Ivan III himself had ordered to bring the icon when the Horde of Khan Ahmed was approaching from the east.
The chances of a Russian victory were slim and the spiritual father of the Grand Prince, Bishop Vassian called upon the Russian people to pray to the Mother of God. The armies met at the Ugra River but the battle never took place. Ahmed left in the end of October. The Protection of the Mother of God saved Moscow from an invasion. From then on Rus no longer paid a tax to the Horde.
Many of the images of the Mother of God have been copies which were painted by Apostle Luke while the Mother of God was still alive. And while it is believed that no copy has survived until today, the icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir depicts the Theotokos so well and naturally that there is no doubt the this images is truly a copy its ancient counterpart.
The icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir was given to Kiev by the patriarch of Constantinople in 1131 and the for 40 years the icon was kept in the Monastery in Vyshgorod near Kiev. The image did not remain there for long and in 1169 Andrey Bogolyubsky took the icon north with him and placed it in the newly built Dormition Cathedral in the city of Vladimir.
Almost instantly the icon became highly venerated by the people while atheists and pagans would not dare harm or touch the icon. In 1238 when Vladimir was captured by the Tatar–Mongols member of the horde entered the Dormition Cathedral. That took everything valuable from the walls of the church but did not dare to take the icon. As the invaders looked at the image of the Mother of God, they were suddenly engulfed in fear, which forced to leave the church in a hurry.
The invasion of Tamerlaned could have been fatal for Moscow but the mother of God saved the city. As soon as the icon was brought into the city, Tameralme retreated without a fight. According to tradition, the Mother of God appeared to him with saints in his dream, which brought fear into the heart of the conqueror. He decided not to take his chances having to deal with the heavenly army with the Mother of God in charge.
From 1480 to 1918, the icon was located in the Dormition Cathedral in the Kremlin to the left of the central royal doors. It became a true national relic as many saints and Czars prayed in from of the icon and used it to bless the army.
After the Bolsheviks came to power, the holy icon was carried out of the Kremlin. First, the icon was taken for restoration and then was put on display at the National historic museum and in 1930 it was placed in the Tretyakov Gallery. Currently it is kept in a special kiot in the restored church in honor of St. Nickolas the Wonderworker a functioning church on the grounds of the museum.