Icon of the Theotokos Supplicating – T35

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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) and is flanked on either side by certain Saints, in particular this icon of the Virgin on His right hand and Saint John the Baptist on His left (our icon S132).

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 as to ask or supplicate for His gracious intercession. 

This icon of the Virgin is unusual in that she is shown on a blue grey background upon which she seems to float almost as if there were clouds.  Central to faith in Christ is delving into the mystery of His relationship with His mother, so may we do this today.

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20th c. (Late)


Lionda, N.