The Mystical Icon of our Holy Church--the Ark of Salvation--is taken from a 17th Century prototype found at the monastery of Zographou on Mt. Athos, Greece. In the middle the Church is symbolized as an Ark with Christ at the helm holding the rudder. The Rudder in the Orthodox Church is the book which contains the Holy Canons which directs the Church in the proper mode of conduct and confession of Faith. Inside the Ark is the Most-holy Virgin Mary, and in front of her are the four Evangelists, John, Matthew, Mark and Luke. At the bow of the ship are Peter and Paul, holding the anchor, which is shaped in a three pronged end, signifying belief in the Holy Trinity. Behind them are the Holy Fathers of the Church, Saint John Chrysostom, St. Gregory the Theologian, St. Basil the Great, St. Athanasios of Alexandria, and St. Nicholas of Myra, with multitudes of other holy Fathers, and Mothers, Martyrs, etc., etc., as signified by the many halos. This all symbolizes the bosom of the Church, both triumphant and militant (i.e. in heaven and on earth).
On the bottom of the icon are the enemies of Christ and His Church; that is, all who have fought against Her and persecuted Her, for if one fights against the Church, he is fighting against Christ. From left to right, Antichrist is depicted as a king on his horse and behind him is an old man with a crown on his head, signifying Israel with the star of David on his crown, holding a bag of gold. He has his arm around the harlot of the Apocalypse, with her cup in her hand. Below Antichrist are those who will fight for him. Antichrist is going to come from Jewish lineage, and will reign in Jerusalem and will want all to submit to him. Those who do not will be persecuted. This is the symbolism of those who are under the caption called Antichrist and his Minions.
Next to him to the right is a dreadful looking beast, which is called New Age. New Age is a revival of paganism presented with new packaging. It encompasses the occult, which has absolutely no reverence for Christ.
Next to him is a king on a horse, with a drawn sword in his hand and he is labeled The Persecuting Rulers. Throughout the history of the Church, kings, emperors, governors, etc., have abused their power either by trying to destroy the Church, or by reaching into the realm of the Church to govern it themselves, which is forbidden to them. The Church is governed only by the bishops.
Next to him is one example, the Emperor Julian the Apostate, who has a spear in his hand, ready to throw it at the Ark.
Next to him is Luther, with a rifle, ready to shoot. Luther, of course, rebelled against papal abuses, but instead of going back to the Orthodox Church, created his new church, which is properly named not after Christ, but after him. This man symbolizes all of Protestantism which followed his bad example.
Next to him on the bottom right side is a great beast, Hades, with an open mouth and in his mouth is Mohammed with a drawn bow and arrow directed at the Church. Islam has subjugated the Church in the East since the 8th century.
Above him is the Pope, with a long, hooked rod, trying to pull down the bow, either to capsize the boat or redirect it in a direction contrary to the direction that Christ is steering the Ark. When the present day papacy came into being around the year 1054, the pope proclaimed himself as the vicar of Christ and also Christ on earth, thus fighting against the true Christ.
Next to him is Eutyches, the heresiarch who would not accept the decision of the 4th and 5th Ecumenical Councils that Christ has two natures: Christ is both perfect God and perfect man. Eutyches divided the Church with his followers who believed that Christ had only one nature. Therefore, he is depicted with a pointed cowl on his head, which is what the Monophysites wear to this day. Monophysites include the Copts of Egypt, and the Armenians, who are located around Palestine. Behind Eftyches is depicted the demon of the Monophysites and Monothelites.
Next above him is the "Orthodox" Patriarch of Constantinople, Athenagoras, the father of modern day Ecumenism. He also has a hooked rod, trying to redirect the path of the Church. He was a 32 degree Mason, and behind him is the demon of Masonry. Masons embrace all peoples and faiths into their religion. Ecumenism accepts all religions with a desire to create a one world religion. An Orthodox bishop cannot accept Ecumenism. It is the heresy of all heresies. Because these "Orthodox" bishops accepted the false belief of all religions, not only heretical Christianity, but also Judaism and Islam, saying that "we all worship the same god", just as Masonry tries to do, they are not Orthodox, and in fact fight against the Church.
I love the vibrant colours and the large content of this icon--so many moments of historical and spiritual significance in the Church are brought to our remembrance. Our 8 x 10 (large) measures 7.25" x 10.25" and the icon pic itself is 6 5/8" x 9 7/8--- it's hard to imagine when you're ordering, but when we received it, it really seemed too small for an icon that has so much story to tell in it. I think we will eventually order the next size, though, which should make the names written above the saints more readable. I think the balance of the icon looks like it was slightly cropped at the top and this slight imbalance could be improved by enlarging the red wooden margin that frames the icon so it would have a better sense of being complete and not cropped or accidentally cut off at the top. It's probably impossible to add a little more yellow sky to the top, but I think that would bring more balance to the icon as well. Thank you!
In hindsight, I should’ve ordered a larger version of this. But even at 4x6, the writing is readable. The colors are vibrant and beautiful. I’m very pleased to have this icon as a reminder of the perseverance of the True Faith throughout trials.
Clear, bright and well designed it clearly records the Churches victory over its enemies. I like the fact it comes in English as a choice.
They were great to deal with. Though I made two mistakes during the order process, they overlooked the inconvenience I caused and quickly dealt the problem. Great quality, and it is very meaningful because here in this eikona we find a firm belief in our Faith and that we profess to be united to the history of the Church. By the last part I mean that we are not ashamed to stand firm in the Faith, as this eikona clearly teaches, by showing the pope and Athenahoras and Mohammad to be attackers of the Church
Your quality it excellent and your customer service couldn't be better. You are my favorite supplier!
You will love this icon! If you want an icon that truly demonstrates the history of the Orthodox Church, this is the icon you should purchase. Looking at it makes you want to delve into the history of the Church and learn more about our roots and those events "which could not overcome Her."
In our world of tumult and confusion, this icon clearly portrays a number of the main enemies that are attempting to come against the Orthodox faith, thereby strengthening us in the spiritual battle at hand, and giving faith and hope. Beautifully done.
Thank you for the quality product.
I saw this icon on Mt Athos and just had to have one of my own. It sends a clear message that the Orthodox Church will remain despite attacks from ancient as well as modern adversaries.