Icon of All of Creation (16th Century) – F145

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From the Chapel of the Burning Bush at Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai where the original root of this plant still flourishes, this colorful 16th century icon illustrates in form the hymn “All of Creation Rejoices in Thee,” sung to the Virgin Mary after the Consecration of the Holy Gifts in the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great.  In the upper section, the Theotokos with her Divine Child sit enthroned surrounded by angels before a five-domed church around which are bright green trees, echoing the words in this hymn to the Virgin, “a hallowed temple and a spiritual paradise.”

In the lower part of the icon there are rows of men and women standing, the Righteous and the Saints who have consistently honored the Virgin Mary as “more honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious than the Seraphim” as the Hymn “It is Truly Meet and Right” declares so clearly.  From the time of the Apostles until today, great honor and love is shown by the Church, and especially the Holy Ones within the Church, to the Virgin.  The two larger figures, in the middle and below the Virgin, are those of Saint John the Baptist, and Saint John Damascene, who holds a scroll.

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St. Catherine's Monastery, Sinai, Egypt


16th c.