Orthodox icon | Deesis | Christ Pantocrator | 24747.
Rare are the depictions of Christ as a high priest in the Temple of Jerusalem. However, starting from the 14th century, a composition known as the “three-figure” or “trimorphon” gained popularity in iconography. This composition presents Christ adorned in the intricate vestments of a bishop or archbishop. He is accompanied by the Mother of God and John the Forerunner (also known as John the Baptist in the Eastern Church).
They together constitute Deesis. In certain portrayals, artists depict the Mother of God as a youthful bride with a veil. This composition originated in the Balkans and subsequently spread throughout the Eastern Church, drawing inspiration from Psalms 45:10: “At your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.”
The icon conveys the Church’s message by portraying Christ as a bishop, holding a scepter and globe. This message is rooted in the incarnation of the Word of God within the Blessed Mother’s body. While the Mother of God may be represented as a young bride, artists never depict Christ as the bridegroom.
Instead, they portray Him as the Lord of the Church, symbolized by his appearance as a bishop. This choice aligns with the Eastern Church’s practice of referring to bishops as “rulers” (Greek “despotes,” Russian “vladika”).
Above the main composition, the artwork depicts Cherubim and two angels holding a text scroll that reads: “Christ the King of Justice, King of Kings, Lord of Lords.” Positioned above them is God the Father.