Orthodox icon | Saint Archangel Michael | 24952

Russian icon

35.5 x 31 cm | 14.0 x 12.2 in

19th century

Antike original russische Ikone aus dem 19. Jahrhundert.


The Archangel Michael is depicted as the horseman of the Last Judgment, as described in the Book of Revelation by John (“the Apocalypse”). Feast day: November 8.

In relation to the Old Testament tradition, in particular the Book of Daniel, the Revelation of John outlines a Christian eschatology in visionary images. The Last Judgment stands at the end of the millennial reign of the Messiah, which begins with his first return, the first parousia. In a “first resurrection” (Rev 20,5 EU) the martyrs come to rule first. In this millennial kingdom, Satan is imprisoned. It ends with the second coming, the release of Satan and his eternal damnation after the final victory over him and his hosts in a final battle (Rev 20: 7-10).

The fight between the warriors of good (angels) and the devil or Satan is already part of the Last Judgment, which is concluded by the second coming of Christ as the judge of all the dead and the overcoming and destruction of death itself: “They were judged, each according to his works.” (Rev 20.13 EU) The Last Judgment is followed by the “new heavens” and the “new earth”, the “New Jerusalem” (Rev 21.1 EU) as the final fulfillment of all the promises of the Kingdom of God.

In the vision of the seer John (Rev 12.7 EU) the archangel Michael defeats the devil in the form of a dragon and pushes him down to earth: “A battle broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels rose to fight the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought, but they did not stand, and they lost their place in heaven. He was overthrown, the great dragon, the old serpent called the devil or Satan, who deceived the whole world; the dragon was thrown to the earth, and with him his angels were cast down.”

In this apocalyptic setting, the Holy Archangel rides as Archistrategos (leader of the heavenly host) on a fiery horse and thrusts his lance in the direction of the devil dragon curling on the ground. He blows the trumpet and holds a censer and the gospel book.

Above: Christ Emmanuel.

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