Tag Archives: Stylism

Why does John the Baptist have wings in Orthodox icons?

August 29th is the day that commemorates the Beheading of John the Baptist. Why is this Saint, almost uniquely, shown in many icons with wings?

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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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Why do the Saints never smile in icons?

There are over 400 occurrences of the word “joy” in the Bible, most of them referring to what awaits those who become close to God. So why do icons – portraits of people who have been received by Christ into … Continue reading

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An Icon of an Icon of Repentance | The Prodigal Son

The third Sunday before the start of Great Lent is dedicated to the Parable of the Prodigal Son. This parable is celebrated in the pre-fasting period because it is considered in Orthodoxy as a perfect reflection, or icon, of the … Continue reading

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Tree of the Virgin | Russia’s Best Loved Icons of Mary

The day after a major feast is often dedicated to a person who plays a central role in the preceding day’s narrative. For example, the day after the Theophany, Christ’s baptism, is dedicated to John the Baptist; whilst the day … Continue reading

Posted in History, Icons of Christ, Icons of the Incarnation, The Theotokos | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Touch Me Not | From West to East

The Icon “Touch Me Not” (in Greek: Μη μου άπτου, Mi mou áptou), shows the appearance of the Resurrected Christ to Mary Magdalene as described in the Gospel of John: “Jesus said unto her, Touch me not; for I am … Continue reading

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The 100% Non-Definitive Guide to Colour in Icons

Vincent van Gogh said of the Mediterranean: “[It] has the colour of mackerel, changeable I mean. You don’t always know if it is green or violet, you can’t even say it’s blue, because the next moment the changing reflection has … Continue reading

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What does this hand gesture mean in Icons?

This is an extract from a longer post about the Icon of Christ, but deserves a separate entry. It explains the meaning behind the way Christ and the Saints are sometimes shown holding their right hand in icons, as shown … Continue reading

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The meaning of objects held by Saints in Icons

Iconography can be an extremely concise way of communicating the Faith. Therefore, what the Saints hold in their hands in portrait icons help in identifying them and in telling us about their lives. I hope to show that what is … Continue reading

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Surety of Sinners Icon

The Surety of Sinners (Споручница грешных) Icon of the Theotokos is a Russian image which was revealed as wonder-working during the middle of the 19th century. It gets it name from the inscription found on the icon: “I am the … Continue reading

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