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Orthodox icon of the Baptism of our Lord (Theophany, also Epiphany) (9). Copy of an icon of 16 cent, Monastery of Dionysiou, Mount Athos.
Commemorated January 6th.
This icon is about the Feast that reveals the Holy Trinity to the world through the Baptism of the Lord (Mt.3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22). God the Father spoke from Heaven about the Son, the Son was baptized by the St John the Forerunner, and the Holy Spirit descended upon the Son in the form of a dove. From ancient times this Feast was called the Day of Illumination and the Feast of Lights, since God is Light and has appeared to illumine those who sat in darkness, and in the region of the shadow of death (Mt.4:16), and to save the fallen race of mankind by grace. John is on the left baptizing Christ, His face turned toward heaven and beholding the miracle of the Theophany.
On the opposite bank to John the Baptist, angels wait invisibly to receive the newly baptized Christ and clothe Him. Despite being the one submerged in the Jordan, Christ is shown in the center of the icon standing up and staring at us. His body is depicted as strong and beautiful. At the bottom of the Icon, little creatures appear to be fleeing from the feet of Christ. This is a reflection of the words of the Psalmist regarding the Messiah (Christ): the sea saw and fled, the Jordan turned back (Psalm 114:3). At the top we see the representation of the Heavenly realm and the action of the Holy Spirit also symbolized by the dove.
Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ icon (1)
Orthodox icon of The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Celebrated December 25th.
Orthodox Icon of the Nativity, the child-Christ and His mother are shown in a cave, surrounded by impossibly sharp, inhospitable, rocks which reflect the cruel world into which Jesus was born. Christ child is shown in a manger in a cave. In this time period animals were not sheltered in wooden barns, but in caves and recesses in the hills, and so this stable is shown in the Icon. In the top center we see the Star representing the heavens and the Holy Trinity which sends down a single shaft towards the baby Jesus. This represents the star that is being followed by the Magi, the wise Persians from the East, who are bearing gifts to the Christ.
But they are shown in the distance, still on their journey. They are not there. Along the top of the rocks are angels bringing the glad tidings of the birth of the world's Savior. On the right, the shepherds who are people not highly regarded by anyone else. They are the first to be given the Good News of Jesus birth. But they are also shown outside of the cave, still by their flocks. They too are not at Christ's side yet. Besides His mother, the only company Jesus Christ has in the first few hours of His earthly life are a lowly ox and Donkey.
The presence of the Ox and the Donkey in the Nativity icon fulfills one of many prophecies in the Old Testament book of Isaiah:The ox knows his owner, and the donkey his master's crib (Isaiah 1:3). Here the animals are also shown providing warmth to Jesus by their breath. in the center bottom is a Jesse Tree.Named after an Old Testament patriarch, the tree's presence is to remind us of another fulfilled prophecy from Isaiah:A shoot shall sprout from the stump (tree) of Jesse and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him (Isaiah 11:1-2). On bottom right we see a midwife.According to the Evangelium, Joseph brought along two women a midwife and a woman called Salome to help with the birth of Jesus. Salome is identified with a woman who later became a disciple of Christ, was the mother of the Apostles James and John, and was one of the women who discovered the empty tomb after Christ's resurrection. Joseph is found in the bottom left of the icon, away from his betrothed and her Son.
He seen listening to an old man and looks troubled. He is beset with new doubts regarding this birth, and these doubts are delivered to him by satan in the form of an old man. icon also acknowledges, as do the hymns of the Church, the great mystery of this event.
Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ icon (2)
Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ icon (3)
Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ icon (4)