A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Cover Icon of the Resurrection

April CoverThe Resurrection of Christ by Michael Galovic, © Copyright 1996 Artist.

Tempera and gold leaf on gessoed board, 48x36 cm

In traditional Orthodox iconography the actual moment of the Resurrection of Christ was never depicted. The two primary icons of the resurrection are those of the Descent into Hell and the Myrrhbearing Women at the Tomb, each of which represents one aspect of a single reality.

Christ appears in hell not as its captive but as its Conqueror, the Deliverer of those imprisoned therein.

“… The Saviour tramples underfoot the two crossed leaves of hell’s doors…In His left hand Christ holds a scroll – symbol of preaching of the Resurrection in hell…Having torn asunder the bonds of hell by His omnipotence with His right hand Christ raised Adam from grave (following Adam, Eve rises with hands joined in prayer); that is, He frees Adam’s soul and with it the souls of all those who wait for His coming with faith. This is why, to right and left of this scene, are shown two groups of Old Testament saints, with prophets at their head. On the left are king David and king Solomon and behind them John the Forerunner; on the right – Moses with the tablets of the Law in his hand. Seeing the Saviour descended into hell, they at once recognise Him and are pointing out to others Him of Whom they had prophesied and Whose coming they had foretold…”

From The Meaning of Icons by Leonid Ouspensky and Vladimir Lossky

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