Orthodox icon | The Holy Wisdom Sophia | Hagia Sophia | 24772.
In the Eastern Church, the Greek concept “Sophia” or divine wisdom is highly valued. Proverbs 9:1-4 depicts Sophia’s activities, saying she built a house with seven pillars, prepared a feast, and invited the city’s inhabitants.
Sophia cathedrals in cities like Constantinople, Kiev, and Novgorod represent Eastern Church’s spiritual ideas. Eastern art often illustrates wisdom inviting people to her knowledge-filled house. Proverbs 8:22-31 states wisdom coexisted with God during creation.
Later, the New Testament connected these visions to Christ. Paul called Christ the “wisdom of God” and “power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). Church Fathers’ writings further popularized Christ as “God’s wisdom” in art.
Wisdom also symbolized church doctrine, countering views that Christ became only an angel upon incarnation.
This representation personifies the divine wisdom of God as a regally adorned angel who sits on a throne, wears a crown, and wields a scepter. Mary stands ornamentally to the left with baby Jesus levitating before her chest. John the Precursor appears on the right. The robe of Hagia Sophia appears in red.
Above, a throne representing divine judgment (Ethimasia) stands, with six worshipping angels surrounding it. Depictions of Saint Triphyllios, the Bishop of Leukosia in Cyprus, and Saint Martyr Eupraxia of Constantinople adorn the edge. This might be a variant from either Kiev or Novgorod.
Saint Triphyllios (commemorated on June 12), the Bishop of Leukosia in Cyprus, was a contemporary of Saint Spyridon. He died around 370, at a ripe old age.
Saint Martyr Eupraxia of Constantinople (commemorated on July 25), was endowed with the divine grace of performing miracles at the young age of 20. Through her prayers, she healed diseases and expelled demons.
The piece is an Old Believer icon.