Icon of the Pantocrator (Hilandar) – J23

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Originally from about 1260-1270, this icon was likely to have been a part of the iconostasis or altar icon screen of the old katholikon or main church at Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos.   This work is quite exceptional, and shares some of the stylism of other great icons of the Lord from Sopocani in Serbia and from Ochrid in Macedonia of that same period, as well as the strength of the great encaustic icon of the Pantocrator from Sinai (J24).

The Greek term Pantocrator means “Ruler of All”, for it says of Christ in the Nicene Creed that by Him “all things were made” and in I Cor 15:24-25 that “He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign….”  Truly all things in Heaven and on Earth are under Him, but this fact can be loved or hated, depending on our own will.  May we love Him and His rule in our lives.

We see in Christ’s face a most interesting expression–a  mixture of sobriety and mercy, with internal and outward awareness.  God is merciful beyond our imagination, but God is also the Truth.  O Lord help us be illumined by this loving Truth!

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Hilandar Monastery, Mt. Athos, Greece


13th c. (Mid)