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Although Michael is considered to be the

leading Archangel who fights against the powers of evil, 

this image depicts gentleness,

humility and obedience

to God the Father,

creator of all things in heaven and on earth.



combines2 prototypes.

One from the Andrey Rublev (Rublyov) Deesis group of Zvenigorod

and the other from the ‘Deesis’ or ‘Supplication’group

from the RublevSchool

following the traditions of Vladimir Suzdal.








"And Moses said "Here I am".

"Do not come any closer" God said

"Take off your sandals,

for the place where you are standing

is holy ground".

 Exodus 3:4-5



Prototype early thirteenth century,

now at the Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine,

Sinai, Egypt.




 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah:

Leave here, turn eastward and hide

in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan.

You will drink from the brook and

I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.”

1 Kings 17:2-4 


Prototype from an Icon dated from 1050-1100AD

 now located in St. Catherine Monastery,

Sinai, Egypt







This is he who was spoken of through

the Prophet Isaiah:

"A voice calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord,

make straight paths for him.' "

Matthew 3:3


"Many will rejoice in his birth" said Gabriel,

"and he shall be great before the Lord."

As a grown man it was John who prepared many

in Israel for the appearance of the Messiah

by baptizing them in the Jordan and it was

John who first recognized Jesus as the Messiah,

confessing that he was not worthy to untie His sandal."

Jim Forest Praying with Icons





prototype from a 13th c. Byzantine image.

I believe he carries a simple and powerful message.

“Do not be afraid, God is with us.”




"Just as Eve, wife of Adam, yet still a virgin...

became by her disobedience, the cause of death for herself and the whole human race, so Mary, too, espoused yet a virgin, became by her obedience

 the cause of salvation for herself and the whole human race...And so it was

 that the knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by Mary's obedience."

Saint Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon, Late Second Century


You formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mothere's womb.

My frame was not hidden from you:

when I was being made in secret, intricately

woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

Psalm 139: 13,15,16



Prototype is the Annunciation of Novgorod school

end of the 12th century to the beginning of the 13th century

 from St. Georges monastery at Novgorod

now at the state Tretyakov gallery, Moscow



The Star and Orb in this icon symbolize God

entering into the darkness of this world with the

Light of the Christ Child.


The word became flesh

and made his dwelling among us.

John 1:14


In him was life and that life

was the light of men.

The light shines in the darkness,

but the darkness has not understood it.

John 1:4-5










In Eastern Christianity,

Mary is called the Theotokos, (Greek)

which means God-Bearer.

She is the one who contained

Him whom the universe could not contain.

The star symbolizes her miraculous virginity.


(prototype from the Virgin of Tenderness

Russian Icon from the 17th c.

now in a private collection in Lebanon) 




Now there was a man in Jerusalem

who was righteous and devout.

He was waiting

 for the consolation of Israel,

and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

It had been revealed to him

by the Holy Spirit

that he would not die before

he had seen the Lord's Christ. 

Luke 2:25-26


An unfurled scroll in the hand of a prophet has an inscription of a prophetic text pointing forward to fulfillment in Christ.

Jesus holds a closed scroll.

He is the Word of God, a Sacred Mystery.


Prototype second half of the 16th century, Crete

Now at the Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine, Sinai, Egypt









The original Virgin of Vladimir, written in about 1137,

 is the oldest surviving icon

 brought from Byzantium to Russia.  It has endured numerous disasters. 

When the Cathedral where it was housed was burnt by Muslim tartars in 1237,

the image was badly damaged, although the faces remained intact. 

Later the icon was placed in the Moscow Kremlin as a

symbol of the Russian Orthodox faith. 

In December 1918, it was forcibly removed from its jeweled shrine by the

Bosheviks and shipped to a studio for scientific tests and restoration 

Now considered a national treasure,

the Virgin of Vladimir is under glass in the Tretyakov Gallery,

where it is still one of the most loved and venerated Orthodox Icons. 

This powerful image has inspired many iconographic variants. 

I have tried to capture as accurately as possible

what the original prototype communicates to the viewer. 

As Jesus looks lovingly into the eyes of the grace-filled mother He has chosen,

she in turn looks out to all humanity,

pondering the fearsome miracle of His perfection. 

Her tender embrace acknowledges the honor He gives her,

as she looks to the viewer with sorrow and humility. 

Does she see humanity through the compassionate

 forgiving eyes of her child Jesus and say,

“Once He touches your heart, you too will never be the same”? 

I look into her anguish and courage with awe and know

 because she was blessed, so am I. 





...are you betraying the Son of man

with a kiss?

In the language of Iconography, a traitor or unbeliever is shown in profile. It depicts a person who

has not yet believed or 

has turned away from God.


Prototype is a detail combined from 14th century fresco,

Vatopaidi Monastery Mount Athos, Greece and a 1295 fresco,

Churuch of St. Clement (Virgin Peribleptos), Ochrid











 He had no beauty or majesty

 to attract us to Him.

He was despised and rejected by men,

A man of sorrows,

and familiar with suffering.

Like one from whom men hide their faces

he was despised,

And we esteemed him not.

Isaiah 53: 2-3


Modeled after a 14th century Balkans Icon that is

now located in the Tretyakov Gallery Moscow.






This is a detail from a specific type of

Lamentation Icon 

that depicts only Jesus’ mother

Mary cradling his body.

It is know as Pieta (Italian for “pity”).









Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept

she stooped to look into the tomb, and she saw two angels in white,

sitting where the body of Jesus had lain,

one at the head and one at the feet. 

They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” 

She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord,

and I do not know where they have laid him.” 

Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing,

but she did not know that it was Jesus. 

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? 

Whom do you seek?”  Supposing him to be the gardener,

she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away,

 tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away. 

Jesus said to her “Mary.” 

She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!”

 (which means Teacher). 

Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet

ascended to the Father:

but go to my brethren and say to them,

I am ascending to my Father and your Father,

to my God and your God.”  

John 20:11-17 RSV   




Prototype is a 13th century mosaic

from Hagia Sophia, Istanbul.


In this image, Christ looks at you

in judgment with one eye,

and with the other eye

He turns away in mercy.