The icon of the Virgin, the family shrine of the Romanov dynasty, is located in the St. Petersburg Orthodox Theological Academy
In the church of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian of the St. Petersburg Orthodox Theological Academy there is a miraculous image of the Blessed Virgin Mary “The Sign” Tsarskoye Selo - the family shrine of the Romanov dynasty. Its origin is not known exactly. It appeared in Russia in the 17th century, when Patriarch Athanasius of Constantinople presented the image to Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich in 1653. The icon of the “Sign” of the Mother of God reverently accepted by the tsar has since become a family, deeply revered shrine.
Peter the Great, having founded a new capital - St. Petersburg, transferred the holy icon to the palace. Before his death, according to legend, he handed over the icon to his daughter Elizabeth Petrovna. Before her accession to the throne, on November 24, 1741, when the adherents of Elizabeth persuaded her to carry out a palace coup, to arrest the ruler Anna Leopoldovna and the young emperor John VI, Elizabeth prayed for a long time before this icon before deciding to raise an uprising.
In 1944, during the retreat, the Germans stole the “Sign” icon, which was soon discovered in Riga. In the spring of 1948, with the blessing of Metropolitan Grigory (Chukov) of Leningrad and Novgorod, the icon was transferred to the revived Leningrad Theological Academy. After the persecution of the Church, the Tsarskoye Selo icon became a testament to the revival and heyday of the Orthodox Theological Academy. Under Archbishop Konstantin, the tradition of reciting a special prayer (akathist) was revived before this miraculous image on Wednesdays, when all students come together to prayerfully glorify the Virgin.
Iconography testifies that the image of the Praying Mother of God with the Icon of the Baby on her chest, raising her hands to heaven, dates back to the middle of the II century, when the veneration of the Virgin, established in the apostolic time, became the actual dogma of Christian teaching. The image of the Praying Mother of God should be considered one of the oldest. He survived the period of catacomb and mosaic painting and switched to Byzantine-Russian painting and icons.