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Theophany icon: cross in the Jordan

theophany jordan river cross symbolism jordan

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#1 Sbdn. Peter Simko

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 04:13 AM

Attached is a photo of a Theophany icon from my parish.  In the Jordan River is a cross; does anyone know why this is the case?  I do not think I have seen this before, or not so bluntly at least.  I have seen Christ standing on a cross as in the link below, but I am uncertain if this is really the same thing... perhaps having to deal with freeing Adam in the Jordan?



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Edited by Peter Simko, 24 October 2013 - 04:14 AM.

#2 Olga



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Posted 28 October 2013 - 11:19 AM

In the many icons of the Theophany I have seen, I have never seen a cross motif in the water like the one in the thumbnail image.


In all these icons, Christ is standing in the water, or, as in the icon in the link, standing on two pieces of wood arranged in the form of a cross. This motif is also seen in a great many icons of the Resurrection, where Christ is rising out of the abyss of hades. The crossed pieces of wood have various and simultaneous meanings, including the power of the Cross (once an instrument of death and desolation, now the source of life through Him whose blood was shed on it) in defeating death, and the doors and gateposts of hades being dismantled and destroyed, their power to contain the souls of the departed brought to nothing.

#3 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 01:29 PM

I wonder if it could have anything to do with the custom of throwing a cross into the Jordan River (and any local river) at Theophany.  This links, of course, with the OT prefiguring of the Jordan River turning back as the Red Sea parted when Moses made the sign of the cross over it.

#4 Phoebe K.

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 05:30 PM

The cross being associated with Theophany is common in the western traditions of depicting the event linking our symbolic death of baptism to the redemptive work of the Cross.  I do not really understand the symbolism involved but I am shore if we could get a theologian who knows the theology of icons to explain it there would be multiple symbolic aspects too it.



#5 Ben Johnson

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 04:33 PM

Could this be relating to the time that Joshua and the Israelites crossed the Jordan?

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: theophany, jordan river, cross, symbolism, jordan

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