Orthodox icon of the "Extreme Humility"(1). Copy of an icon of 17 cent. Monastery of St. Stephan, Greece.
Commemorated on Holy Friday.
In the icon of the Extreme Humility, the nakedness of the body, the closed eyes, the open sarcophagus, the Cross, the instruments of the Passion, the wounds in the hands and the ribs and the hair down, consist the inclusion of the Holy Passion and forewarn the Resurrection.The Cross comprises the symbol of triumph of the Extreme Humility, the victory of immortality and life, and hope and salvation for the orthodox Christian.
The Theological Interpretation: The composition, while it is connected with the element of glory in a way that one illumines and completes the other one. The Humility of Christ is not meant in pietisitic, psychological or moral terms. Christ is not humbled to reach a moral perfection or for His own benefit. • His humility is emptiness, it is the pouring out of Himself and it is understood under the existential terms. He freely takes the human nature, except sin, and reaches the edge of death to heal it and deify it.
The icon of The Extreme Humility is the symbol of the Passion, which leads to the ultimate humility of Christ, with the ignominious death on the Cross, which He endured for the sake of human kind. He thus reaches at perfect condescension, into the absolute self-denial. Death is the ultimate enemy, who entered the life of man because of sin, because of his separation from God. Therefore, Christ comes as the Savior and gives his battle on the Cross as a King. His rule can only be nothing but servitude, since the king has become a servant out of love: "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20: 28)