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One of a pair of bright 17th c. Greek Deisis icons (J59 and T67) from Holy Dionysiou Monastery on Mount Athos, this icon shows the Holy Forerunner and Baptist John with his hands upraised in prayer and supplication to Christ Who sits serenely and attentively on His Throne. We know from Holy Tradition (“therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” [2 Thes. 2:15] ) that the Virgin and Birth-giver of God, Mary, stands on Christ’s right hand in the Kingdom, and Saint John the Baptist stands on His left. This is why the Lord could not promise these places to the Sons of Zebedee, Saint James and Saint John, when they asked this of Him.
In this Deisis icon Christ is sitting enthroned as the Ruler of the universe, “for in that he put all in subjection unto Him” (Hebrews 2:8) as God’s Will is a simple state of reality that will be completely manifest at the end of this world. Reality is always self-evident, not really a vote or philosophical discussion, but we must agree to live in this Truth, or face ultimate alienation from all Life. This is the actual limit of freedom: to see Truth or remain blind.
Dionysiou Monastery, Mt. Athos, Greece