Orthodox icon | Easter with 16 Feasts & 4 Evangelists | 24232 from the world famous painting school of Palekh.
At the center of this elaborate composition, the focal point is the profound depiction of the resurrection from the grave and the descent into the realm of the dead. Christ, triumphant over death, stands upon the shattered gates of the underworld, rescuing Adam and Eve from the clutches of death itself.
Accompanying them are the righteous figures of the Old Testament, guided by the celestial presence of an angel and the revered figure of John the Forerunner.
Within the paradisiacal realm, the Grateful Thief and the Prophet Elias find their rightful place, representing the boundless mercy and divine grace bestowed upon repentant souls.
In the upper left corner, Peter mourns at the grave, while in the bottom right corner, Jesus and Peter are depicted by the Sea of Galilee, evoking the profound encounter where Peter reaffirmed his love and commitment to his Lord. Embellishing the corners of the composition are the revered 4 Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, symbolizing the sacred proclamation of the Gospel.
Progressing from left to right, the icon portrays a sequence of sacred 16 feasts and significant events in the life of Christ and the Mother of God:
- Birth of the Mother of God (September 21 or September 8): The icon depicts Anna, the mother of Mary, reclining and resting, attended by her servants. Anna’s husband, Joachim, is shown in a prayerful posture near her head. Below, the scene portrays the bathing of the child Mary, with a servant carefully tending to her in a basin.
- Presentation of the Mother of God (December 4 or November 21): At the age of three, Mary is taken to the Temple in Jerusalem, where she is to be raised and reside until the age of fifteen. The icon portrays Mary’s encounter with the high priest Zacharias before the open gates of the temple. Alongside them are Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anna, and a group of maidens.
- Pentecost and the Holy Trinity: Depicted is the hospitality of Abraham, as described in the book of Genesis. Three angelic figures represent the visitation of the divine Trinity to Abraham, with the church fathers interpreting this encounter as a prefiguration of the Holy Trinity. Abraham humbly kneels before them as they sit at a table under the Terebinth of Mamre.
- Annunciation of the Mother of God (April 7 or March 25): The icon portrays the joyous moment when the Archangel Gabriel appears before the Virgin Mary, bearing the news that she has been chosen to be the Mother of God. God the Father, depicted in the icon, instructs Gabriel on the mission, but Gabriel is depicted pausing on his way, expressing a moment of doubt before delivering the momentous message.
- Birth of Christ (January 7 or December 25): The scene depicts the humble birth of Jesus in a cave. The Blessed Mother, Mary, rests nearby, and the infant Jesus lies in a manger. The Three Wise Men are portrayed adjacent to the crib, and below them, Joseph contemplates the event, accompanied by an elderly figure symbolizing doubt.
- Presentation of Jesus at the Temple (February 15 or February 2): On the fortieth day after Jesus’ birth, the Blessed Mother and Joseph bring the child to the Temple in Jerusalem for his consecration to God. Inside the temple, they encounter the aged Simeon and the prophetess Hanna, both of whom have devoted their lives to serving in the temple. Simeon cradles the child Jesus in his arms.
- Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan (January 19 or January 6): The Gospel account of Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist is depicted. Jesus stands undressed in the river, while John the Baptist is shown nearby. Angels grace the opposite bank, and the Holy Spirit, represented as a dove, hovers above. With his right hand raised in blessing, Jesus blesses those present.
- Entry into Jerusalem: This event occurs one week before Christ’s crucifixion, commonly celebrated as Palm Sunday. The icon portrays Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, where He is greeted with enthusiasm and reverence by the people. Christ is depicted riding on a donkey, accompanied by His disciples.
- The Transfiguration of Christ (August 19 or August 6): Jesus ascends a mountain, accompanied by His disciples Peter, James, and John. As He prays, His appearance undergoes a profound transformation, radiating divine glory. Moses and Elijah, representing the law and the prophets, respectively, stand beside Christ. Peter, James, and John, in awe, kneel before the transfigured Lord.
- Ascension of Christ: Forty days after His resurrection, Christ leads His disciples to the Mount of Olives, where He ascends to heaven in their presence. As Christ ascends, carried by two angels, the astonished apostles witness this extraordinary event. The central figure in the lower part of the icon is the Mother of God, depicted with raised hands in the orante position, symbolizing prayer. The apostles encircle her in reverence.
- Dormition of the Mother of God (August 28 or August 15): The icon portrays the Dormition, where the Mother of God peacefully transitions from earthly life to heavenly glory. The Blessed Mother lies on a bed, surrounded by the grieving apostles. Above her, Christ stands on a golden background, holding a cloth-wrapped child, representing the soul of the Mother of God.
- The Resurrection of Lazarus: This scene depicts the miraculous resurrection of Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary. The icon shows Christ standing before a group of apostles, with a dark cave depicted on the right. Christ extends His hand towards Lazarus, who is wrapped in burial cloths, having been raised from the dead. Martha and Mary are depicted in the foreground, bowing before Christ.
- Pokrov: Protection and Intercession of the Mother of God and Saint Romanos the Melode: The icon portrays the apparition of the Blessed Mother at the Blachernae Cathedral in Constantinople, where her protective veil was venerated. The Mother of God is depicted with her protective mantle extended over the believers. The venerable Romanos, a renowned poet, stands alongside her.
- Beheading of the Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John (August 29): According to biblical accounts, the daughter of Herodias requested the beheading of John the Baptist as a reward for her dance. This event is memorialized on August 29. The icon depicts John’s execution and the subsequent presentation of his severed head. Historical context reveals that the daughter of Aretas fled to her father, leading to a potential conflict with Antipas.
- The Holy Prophet Elias (August 2 or July 20): Depicting the life of the prophet Elias, the icon captures his ascent to heaven on a fiery chariot, witnessed by his disciple Elisha. Elias had prophesied a drought and was directed to hide near the Brook Cherith, where ravens miraculously provided sustenance for him.
- The Feast of the Cross or Exaltation of the Cross (September 27 or September 14): The icon portrays the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Makarios, presenting the cross of the Lord to the people. Emperor Constantine and Empress Helena are present for the event. Empress Helena is known for discovering a portion of the true cross and the nails used in Christ’s crucifixion. The cross itself is placed in a silver chest, entrusted to Patriarch Makarios for safekeeping and future veneration.
The icon features a gilded background and exhibits intricate miniature painting, incorporating delicate gold accents on the robes of the depicted figures.