Translation of the relic of the Right Hand of John the Baptist

The Translation from Malta to Gatchina of a Portion of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord, together with the Philermos Icon of the Mother of God, and the right hand of Saint John the Baptist took place in the year 1799. These holy things were preserved on the island of Malta by the Knights of the Catholic Order of St John of Jerusalem. In 1798, when the French seized the island, the Maltese knights turned to Russia for defense and protection. On October 12, 1799 they offered these ancient holy things to the emperor Paul I, who at this time was at Gatchina. In the autumn of 1799 the holy items were transferred to St Petersburg and placed in the Winter Palace within the church dedicated to the Icon of the Savior Not-Made-by-Hands. The Feast for this event was established in 1800.

By ancient tradition, the Philermia Icon of the Mother of God was painted by the holy Evangelist Luke. From Jerusalem it was transferred to Constantinople, where it was situated in the Blachernae church. In the thirteenth century it was taken from there by crusaders, and from that time was kept by the Knights of the Order of St John.