Icons are used to teach the faithful about God, to aid in prayer and help with meditation. In the 8th century there was a struggle between those who believed that icons provided the above benefits and those that saw them as idolatry. During the reformation, led by reformers like Zwingli and John Calvin, iconoclastic riots took place in many major European cities in order to purge the church of any idolatrous images.
What do you think about using icons in church? What kind of benefits or disadvantages might there be?
For the next several weeks, the icon of Christ the Teacher, or Christ Pantocrator will be in the sanctuary environment.
In our icon, holding a Gospel declaring: “I am the Light of the world” Christ blesses the beholder. In this icon of Christ His halo includes the letters “I AM,” symbolizing His divinity and referring to His words, “”Before Abraham was, I AM.” The Greek letters “IC” and “XC” in the upper corners of the icon are abbreviations of the Greek words for “Jesus””and “Christ..
Our icon resembles the original.. Here is the iconography of the original icon.
Christ Pantocrator is an orthodox icon or picture of Christ. Icons were first used in early Christianity to convey concepts from the bible through images to a population that was mostly illiterate. The oldest known icon of Christ Pantocrator is found in Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai and is from the 6th C. Many other icons of Christ exist and are still used today in Orthodox churches including those here in Prince George.
Pantocrator: Ruler of All
Pose: Jesus is presented in a half length pose, but in the full length pose he is seated on a throne.
Facial Features: The face of Jesus follows ancient traditions. The eyes are large and open, looking directly into the soul of the viewer. The forehead, identified as the seat of wisdom, is high and convex. The nose is long and slender, contributing a look of nobility. The mouth is small and closed in the silence of contemplation. The hair is curled and flowing, recalling the endless flow of time. The neck and body are powerful reminders of His strength and majesty.
Book: With his left hand holding the Sacred Word. The book can either be open or closed. If the book is open it’s generally showing a text from either the gospels or Saint John’s Revelation.
Right Hand: Raised in blessing. The hand gesture is exaggerated because Jesus is making the symbol of four letters: I, C, and X. This Christogram is an abbreviation for the name of Jesus Christ. In Greek, this is depicted as “IC XC”, which stands for “IHCOYC XPICTOC”. These abbreviations use the first and last letters of the words
Two different forms may be seen in iconography. These two forms date from a schism that split the Russian Orthodox church in 1667. Patriarch Nikon instituted reforms that a group of people who came to be known as the Old Believers refused to accept.
Halo: Iconographic symbol for sanctity, is inscribed with a cross and the Greek letters omicron, omega, nu, spelling “HO ON.” In English, this becomes “I Am,” the name used for God in Exodus 3:14. On the background is written “IC XC.”
Clothes: He is dressed in the traditional garb of tunic and cloak.
Cloak: Called in Greek a “himation” is dark blue signifying the sky or things that are heavenly.
Tunic: Purple and represents royalty