Category Archives: History

Saint Phanourios | The Saint Revealed by His Icon

Icons have been often described as a method of teaching about theology, Christ’s life and His Saints to the illiterate. In centuries past – and it seems for most of human history – the majority of people could not read … Continue reading

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When is an Icon not an Icon? | Russian Parsuna

Above are two Russian portraits painted on wooden panels, with the distinctive “recess” creating a raised border seen in many icons. One is painted in the 16th century and the other in the early 17th century. Both contain similar stylized … Continue reading

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Weeping Icons in Ukraine and Russia

Over the past couple of days, a number of websites have been linking to an article I posted a couple of years ago, quoting Fr Seraphim Rose’s words on why icons of the Mother of God weep. The reason for … Continue reading

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The snakes that venerate icons

In a tiny Greek village in the south of Kefallonia, a miracle occurs every year after the feast of the Transfiguration (Aug 6). Around the bell-tower of the chapel at Markopoulo, small venomous snakes appear. These snakes crawl around the church, … Continue reading

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All Saints Icon | The Great Cloud of Witnesses

After Pentecost, remembering the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Church celebrates the Sunday of All Saints. This is fitting, as the Saints are the result of the Holy Spirit being given to the Apostles, the fruits of that “grain … Continue reading

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The Holy Spirit as a dove in iconography

A previous post on the Throne of Preparation showed the widespread (in time and location) practice of depicting the Holy Spirit as a dove. The Holy Spirit did descend “as a dove” at the Baptism of Christ, and so naturally … Continue reading

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Hetoimasia | The Throne of Preparation

The Hetoimasia (Gr. ἑτοιμασία, “preparation”), or Throne of Preparation, is one of the most widespread images in iconography, particularly in Orthodox Christianity. It very rarely dominates any composition it is part of, so the image and its significance can be … Continue reading

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