Icon "Christ Pantocrator"
Place of Production: Russia (Russian Empire)
Date of Production: middle of 19th century
Materials: gesso, gilding, tempera, wood
Width: 26.5 cm.
Height: 31.5 cm.
Condition notes: Minor restoration, wear consistent with age and use
This is a type of icon in which Jesus Christ is depicted as the Divine Son who, having taken our human nature, has restored our humanity to its Divine Image and likeness, and has taken that humanity to the very throne of God. In the Orthodox Church it is usually found in the Dome (or the highest point in the Church building), on the Ikonostas to the right of the Holy Doors (as you face the Ikonostas), on the Dлisis tier, and for the veneration of the faithful. The ikon may be shown full length, or half length. It is called "Pantokrator" because He is the ruler of all from the Greek pantokratoros meaning 'all powerful'. This type of ikon includes ikons of Christ the Teacher, and Christ the King of Glory who will judge the world. The ikon teaches us that Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh (St. John 1:14). Unlike a secular portrait, ikons painted according to the canon reveal the Divine person Who is the second Adam that is, He is not merely human, He is truly human because He has restored our human nature to what it was before the fall and which now shines with the light of His Divinity. The Greek o wn in the halo surrounding His head is the Greek translation of the Hebrew YHWH (He Who Is); the name spoken to Moses from the burning bush. Thus Jesus is explicitly identified with the God who delivered the Israelites from bondage in Egypt in the first passover, and who, in the second Passover delivers all mankind from bondage to the devil, sin and death. The colors and drapery of the clothing as well as the general shape of the ikon is taken from the canon, and depicts our Lord so that the light appears to be coming from inside Him rather that merely reflecting off of Him. In the Dome ikon He is depicted surrounded by six-winged cherubim, recalling the vision of Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1ff). The ikons of the Pantocrator reveal our Lord in every aspect of His humanity and divinity. They express the compassion and tenderness of the Saviour who is accessible to the prayers of man, as well as the Righteous Judge who will judge the world and the peoples with His truth.
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