Icon of Christ Enthroned (Panselinos, 1290) – J86

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This icon is on the iconostasis or altar icon screen in the main church of the Protaton at Karyes, the administrative seat of  Mount Athos, the ancient monastic peninsula in northeastern Greece.  The master Macedonian iconographer Manuel Panselinos made it in a.d. 1290 in majestic beauty, with Christ seated in glory on a golden throne with both a striking pale purple inner robe and a vibrant deep blue outer robe, showing His rulership both as King of Heaven (in His Divinity) and as Son of man (in His Humanity).

The open Gospel Book is supported by His left hand and gives an inscription unusual for icons of the Christ Enthroned, “learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mat. 11:29-30)  It is a clear message that rulership in God is not as of men, but by Truth and Humility, not worldly power and coercion.  This icon, with its Classical elements and Late Paleologean influence, reminds one of the great iconographic work of Sopocani of the same and earlier period.  Dynamic, yet gentle, immensely strong, yet filled with inner beauty, Christ calls us to Himself today.

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Protaton Church, Karyes, Mt. Athos, Greece


13th c. (Late)


Panselinos, Manuel