Metal/Bronze /Brass icon
13.5 x 8 cm | 5.3 x 3.1 in
Beginning of the 19th century
Material: bronze/brass/yellow metal. Multicolored enamel.
Crucifixion of Jesus (Great and Holy Friday)
In the middle the crucified. Left: The Mother of God with Saint Mary Magdalene (third Sunday of Easter and July 22). Right: Saint Apostle John the Theologian (May 8) and Captain Longinus (October 16). Above: the mandylion – the “not human-made image” of Christ from the city of Edessa (today’s city of Urfa in Turkey) with two angels.
Annunciation of the Blessed Mother (March 25)
As the beginning of the Incarnation of the Son of God, the Annunciation to Mary belongs to the Christian circle of images from the beginning; it opens the cycle of images with the life of Jesus. Gabriel, the messenger of God, announces the child who is to be born as Emmanuel (“God with us”): He will be called the Son of the Most High, God will give him the throne of his father David, his reign has no end . He is begotten by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit in the virgin, therefore he will be called the Son of God.
Birth of Jesus (December 25)
In contrast to the stable in the West, the icons of the Nativity in the East focus on the cave. In the mountainous surroundings of Bethlehem there were caves into which the shepherds drove their flocks at night or in case of danger and also used to spend the night themselves. When Joseph came to Bethlehem for the census, he found shelter for himself and his pregnant wife Maria in such a cave. The rock cave is also a symbol of the world of the dead. The ox and the donkey represent Jews and Gentiles, the star and the angels the presence of the Trinity, the magicians or sages with their gifts refer to the women at the grave with the oils and ointments.
Birth of the Mother of God (September 8)
The origins of the festival go back to 6./7. Century back, even if it was officially included in the church calendar in the east only in the 9th century. The gospels only indicate that Mary was from the house of David. In the non-evangelical (apocryphal) narratives, the birth of Mary is discussed in detail. The focus is on the answer to prayer of the childless married couple Joachim and Anna, but also the childhood and youth of the future Mother of God are embellished with numerous wonderful events. On the icon you can see St. Anne lying on her childbed, while women from the neighborhood bring refreshments and midwives bathe the child. Sometimes Saint Joachim looks at the scene through a door.
Presentation of the Mother of God (November 21)
Joachim and Anna had vowed to introduce their daughter Maria to the temple as one of the temple virgins at the child’s age of three, a story that can be found in two apocryphal books. On November 20, 543, Emperor Justinian founded a Church of St. Mary in Jerusalem. The festival itself did not appear in the Orthodox church calendar until the middle of the 12th century. Depictions of Mary’s temple passage gradually gained acceptance in monumental and icon painting after the iconoclast in the 9th century, only to enjoy general popularity in the High Middle Ages.