THERE IS A COPY of an icon, originally painted in Constantinople, in Truro Cathedral. This well-executed replica stands near the west end of the chancel. It depicts the Holy Child, Jesus, being held by the Virgin Mary. It exemplifies what we were told several years ago whilst being shown around a collection of icons in the Sicilian town of Piana degli Albanese, whose population is descended from Albanians who fled from the Ottomans in the late 15th century. These folk speak not only Italian but also a dialect of Albanian, known as Arberesh.
The icon in Truro shows the Virgin Mary dressed in dark blue and Jesus dressed in red. Our guide in Piana had shown us that in all the icons, the same thing can be seen. Conventionally, in Byzantine icons, Jesus is almost always dressed in red and the Virgin Mary in blue. The copy of the icon on display in Truro Cathedral is no exception to this tradition.