Orthodox icon | Image of Edessa (Mandylion) | 25046


  • Russian icon
  • 35.5 x 30.5 cm | 14.0 x 12.0 in
  • Beginning of the 19th century


Miraculous reports about images of Christ that were created without human intervention have existed since the 6th century. The emergence of a completely new archetype relates to a circle of legends about King Abgar of Edessa (today the Turkish “Urfa”). According to this, at the time of Christ there lived a King Abgar, called “the dark one.” He wrote a letter to Christ and asked for help in his serious illness. Christ replied that he had to end his difficult path first. But after his ascension he would send one of his disciples with a letter. This was done by a man named Jude sent by the apostle Thomas. In addition to the letter motif, there were reports according to which Christ pressed his face into a towel and the miraculously produced, “not painted by human hands” (Greek “acheiropoietos”) sent an image to Abgar.

The Greek word for “towel”, which comes from Persian, means “Mandylion” (Russian “ubrus”). An icon from Mount Sinai, created after 944, shows King Abgar with a crown and sitting on a throne, as he fell out of his hands of a messenger who receives the mandylion with the head of Christ.

In the margin: Saint Nicholas of Myra, the Miracle Worker (December 6 and May 9), Saint Venerable Michael of Klops Monastery, Fool for Christ (January 11), Saint Sergius of Radonezh (July 5 and September 25) and Holy Venerable Mary of Egypt (April 1st and 5th Sunday of Great Lent).

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Orthodox icon | Image of Edessa (Mandylion) | 25046
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