The icon with a scale representation of the Holy Face of Jesus was one of the most favorite icons of Peter the Great
The wonderworking ‘Savior Not Made by Hands’ is located at the altar stand near the right choir place in Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral. This icon is closely connected with the life of the Russian Emperor Peter the Great. The icon was painted by famous Moscow iconographer Simeon Ushakov in 1676 for the Russian Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich. Later the icon passed from Natalia Kirillovna, the mother of the first Russian Emperor to Peter the Great. The Emperor always brought the icon along to all military campaigns. It was the very icon in front of which Peter the Great was praying during the founding of Saint Petersburg and shortly before the Battle of Poltava, the seminal event in the Russian history.
Later the wonderworking ‘Savior Not Made by Hands’ was placed in Peter the Great’s Cabin on the Petrograd Side, being precisely at the canteen. Elizaveta Petrovna, having been very devoted to religion wrote a prayer with her own hand: ‘In the name of God, the Compassionate and Merciful’. They used to read it aloud during prayer service in front of the icon. Elizabeth I also ordered in her Act by July 1, 1842 not to work on the Feast of the icon, which is celebrated on August 16. Annually, the holy procession of the Cross was held around the Peter and Paul Cathedral.
After the chapel on the Petrograd Side had been closed, the old wonderworking was moved to the Church of the Holy Trinity on Stremyannaya Street in January 1930, however, when the church was dismantled in 1936 the icon was transferred to Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral.
The icon ‘Savior Not Made by Hands’ is a unique representation of Christ. The Holy Face of Jesus is displayed flat either on the clay tablet or on the tiling. In Byzantine temples such an image of Jesus was usually displayed on the dome drum.