Orthodox icon | Easter- 12 Great Feasts | School of Palekh | 24570.
In the center of the icon, we witness the profound events of the resurrection and the descent into the realm of the dead. Christ stands triumphantly on the shattered gates of the underworld, rescuing Adam and Eve, as well as the righteous figures from the Old Testament. In the bottom right corner, Jesus and Peter are depicted at the Sea of Galilee.
Moving from left to right, the icon portrays the following feasts:
- Birth of the Mother of God – Celebrated on September 21 (or September 8): Anna, depicted reclining and resting, is attended by servants, while Joachim, her husband, assumes a prayerful posture at the head end. Below them, we see the scene of the child’s bathing, with a servant checking the water in the container.
- Presentation of the Mother of God – Celebrated on December 4 (or November 21): Mary, at the age of three, is taken to the Temple in Jerusalem, where she will be raised until fifteen. The icon shows Mary’s encounter with Zacharias, the high priest, in front of the temple. They stand on the temple stairs, with Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anna, and a virgin positioned behind them.
- Annunciation of the Mother of God – Celebrated on April 7th (or March 25th): This joyous event marks the announcement of the forthcoming birth of the Savior. The Archangel Gabriel appears to the Virgin Mary, delivering the news that she will become the Mother of God. The icon represents Gabriel hesitating on his way to deliver the message, shown again on the left side.
- Birth of Christ – Celebrated on January 7th (or December 25th): The icon portrays the birth of Christ in a cave. The Blessed Mother rests beside the child, who lies in a cloth within a crib. The three wise men are depicted next to the crib, and Joseph sits thoughtfully, accompanied by an old man symbolizing doubt.
- Presentation of Jesus at the Temple – Celebrated on February 15 (or February 2): On the fortieth day after Jesus’ birth, the Blessed Mother and Joseph bring Him to the temple in Jerusalem to consecrate Him to God. In the temple, they encounter the aged Simeon and the prophetess Hanna, both of whom have dwelled there for a long time. Simeon holds the child in his arms.
- Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan – Celebrated on January 19 (or January 6): This icon depicts the Gospel account of Christ’s baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Jesus stands unclothed in the river, accompanied by John the Baptist, while angels stand on the opposite bank. The Holy Spirit, symbolized as a dove, descends from above. Christ blesses with His right hand at waist level.
- Entry into Jerusalem – Celebrated on the Sunday before Holy Week, after Lazarus Saturday: Christ enters Jerusalem one week before His crucifixion, riding on a donkey. Accompanied by His disciples, He is warmly greeted by the people.
- The Transfiguration of Christ – Celebrated on August 19 (or August 6): Jesus takes Peter, James, and John to a mountain in Caesarea Philippi, where He undergoes a transfiguration in their presence. The icon shows Christ shining in white garments, with the prophets Moses and Elijah standing beside Him. The disciples John and James kneel, while Peter lies prostrate on the ground.
- Ascension of Christ – Celebrated forty days after Easter, on the Thursday of the sixth week after Easter: On this day, Christ ascends to heaven in the presence of His disciples from the Mount of Olives. Two men appear and announce the Savior’s eventual return at the end of the world. The upper part of the icon shows Christ ascending to heaven, carried by two angels in a round mandorla. In the center, the Mother of God stands with raised hands in prayer, surrounded by the apostles.
- The Feast of the Cross/Exaltation of the Cross – Celebrated on September 27 (or September 14): The icon represents the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Makarios, presenting the cross of the Lord to the people in the presence of Emperor Constantine and Empress Helena. Empress Helena retrieves a portion of the cross and the nails. The cross itself is placed in a silver chest entrusted to Patriarch Makarios for safekeeping, ensuring its preservation for future generations.
- Pentecost (Holy Trinity) – Celebrated seven weeks after Easter, on a Sunday: This icon portrays the hospitality of Abraham as described in the book of Genesis. Abraham receives a visit from three men, and in the icon, they are depicted as angels. Abraham kneels before them while they sit at a table under the Terebinth of Mamre. This representation became known as the Pentecostal icon due to its foreshadowing of the divine Trinity.
- Dormition of the Mother of God – Celebrated on August 28 (or August 15): Dormition represents the “falling asleep” of the Blessed Mother, which is more akin to sleep than death. Similar to Christ, she soon ascends to heaven. The icon depicts the Mother of God lying on a bed, with apostles positioned at the head and foot. Christ, carrying a child symbolizing the soul of the Mother of God, stands on a golden background.
The icon features a poliment-gilded background adorned with engraved and painted ornaments. It showcases exquisite artistry with meticulous miniature painting, including delicate gold detailing on the robes. This particular icon is a beautiful example from the renowned painter’s village of Palech.