Icon of Saint John the Baptist (Supplicating) – S132

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This contemporary Greek icon was painted by N. Lionda and is part of a set of icons called Deisis (which is Greek for “Supplicating”) that shows Christ in the center as Pantocrator (our icon J26).  He is flanked on either side by certain Saints, in particular this icon of Saint John the Baptist on His left hand, and the Virgin on His right (our icon T35).

Traditionally understood, this set of icons expresses why the sons of Zebedee, Saint John and Saint James, could not be promised to sit on Christ’s right and left hand in His Kingdom, as these places were already reserved (as this Deisis iconographic tradition preserves).  In some Deisis icons there are other Saints such as Saint Peter and Saint Paul on either side further from the center.  The hands of all the Saints who surround Christ are then lifted up towards Christ to ask or supplicate for His gracious intercession.

This icon of Saint John is unusual in that he is shown on a blue grey background upon which he seems to float almost as if there were clouds.  The relationship of Saint John with Jesus Christ was very close, for He bowed His head when baptized by him.

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Lionda, N.


20th c. (Late)