Orthodox icon | Easter and the 12 Great Feasts | 24477.
The icon gloriously showcases Christ’s resurrection at its center, a triumphant symbol of His victory over death, sparking hope in believers. It then captures several important feasts, moving from left to right.
On September 21 or alternatively on September 8, we celebrate the Birth of the Mother of God. The scene presents Anna, half-lying and at rest, with her servants nearby. Joachim, her husband, prays at the head end. The bathing of the child takes place below, with a servant tenderly checking the water temperature.
Following this, on December 4 or November 21, comes the Presentation of the Mother of God. Three-year-old Mary goes to the Temple in Jerusalem to live and be raised until she turns fifteen. The icon shows Mary meeting high priest Zacharias at the temple. Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anna, and a virgin form a backdrop.
Then we see the Annunciation of the Mother of God on April 7, or alternatively March 25. This joyful moment has Archangel Gabriel visiting Virgin Mary with the news of her divine calling. The icon displays God the Father instructing Gabriel, yet a hint of hesitation lingers on Gabriel’s face on the left.
On January 7, or alternatively December 25, the icon depicts the Birth of Christ. In a humble cave, Jesus is born. The Blessed Mother lies by the crib holding Jesus wrapped in cloth. Three wise men stand next to the crib, while Joseph sits nearby, accompanied by an old man symbolizing doubt.
After Jesus’ birth, on the fortieth day, comes the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. This is either on February 15 or February 2. The Blessed Mother and Joseph bring Jesus to the temple, encountering Simeon and prophetess Anna. Simeon cradles Jesus in his arms.
On January 19, or alternatively January 6, we see the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. John the Baptist baptizes Jesus, standing undressed in the river, with angels on the opposite bank. The Holy Spirit descends like a dove, and Christ blesses with His right hand.
The Entry into Jerusalem follows, celebrated on the Sunday before Holy Week. The icon shows Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey, greeted warmly by the crowd.
Next, on August 19 or alternatively August 6, comes the Transfiguration of Christ. Jesus ascends a mountain, accompanied by His disciples—Peter, James, and John. While He prays, He transforms into radiant glory. The disciples awake and see Jesus shining in white. Moses and Elijah stand next to Him, while Peter prostrates and John and James kneel.
After Easter, on the 40th day, we observe the Ascension of Christ. Christ leads His disciples to the Mount of Olives and ascends to heaven. Two men announce His return. The icon shows Christ ascending, carried by two angels, with the Mother of God praying below Him and the apostles surrounding her.
On September 27, or alternatively September 14, we celebrate the Feast of the Cross/Exaltation of the Cross. The icon illustrates Patriarch Makarios presenting the cross to the people. Empress Helena and Emperor Constantine attend, and Helena acquires a part of the Cross and the nails.
Next is Pentecost or Holy Trinity, celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter. The scene from Genesis, where Abraham receives three men, represents this feast. The Church Fathers see this as a symbol of the divine Trinity. In the icon, Abraham kneels before the three men depicted as angels.
Lastly, on August 28 or alternatively August 15, we observe the Dormition of the Mother of God. The icon portrays the Blessed Mother lying on a bed, with the apostles at her side. Christ stands above her, holding a child representing the soul of the Mother of God.
These feasts carry deep spiritual meaning, reminding us of divine mysteries and the central role of key biblical figures in Christianity.
About the icon:
This large icon is in great shape. Very vibrant colours. Rustic painting style with western influences.