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Mid-Pentecost iconographic symbolism and meaning

mid-pentecost iconography symbolism living water holy wisdom

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#1 Sbdn. Peter Simko

Sbdn. Peter Simko

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 12:52 PM

Christus het opgestaan!


I am wondering if anyone would like to comment on how some of the iconography surrounding Mid-Pentecost shows the themes of the feast.  I have seen three types in particular.  The first is the child Christ seated in the teacher's throne, which I always assumed was based on His experience of being left there in the Gospel according to Saint Luke.  An example: http://wwwdelivery.s...k_4069-6649.jpg


The second is similar, but clearly shows Christ as an adult.  This seems to reflect the event as Scripture for the day lays out: His teaching while the Jews restrain themselves from harming Him since His hour had not yet come.  An example: http://1.bp.blogspot...634b1eb67f5.jpg


The third is of Christ holding a pitcher (of water, I assume), as an image of His own Person being the Fountain of Living Water.  An example: https://lh4.googleus...Ic/s800/816.jpg


Any commentary or further explanation would be much appreciated!




Edited by Peter Simko, 30 May 2013 - 01:00 PM.

#2 Olga



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Posted 31 May 2013 - 11:52 AM

A few brief comments for now:
The first example Peter posted is a variant of the most common compositional type. The presence of St Joseph the Betrothed and the Mother of God is something of an interpolation, a feature which simply does not appear in any of the historic icons I've come across. But I digress.
Here is a better example:
It expresses one of the themes of the feast, of the wisdom of God. The twelve-year old Christ, the Wisdom and Word of God, is teaching the teachers, astonishing them with a wisdom and knowledge that belies His youth. The composition of the icon also echoes the iconography of the following great feast of Pentecost, which shows the Apostles seated in two ascending arcs, with a space at the head of the arcs, representing Christ, who has ascended from the earth, but will return in His glory.
The second is far less common, and I can only recall seeing a few Greek examples of it. It is interesting and intriguing, as the story in Luke's Gospel clearly speaks of Christ as a twelve-year-old, not the adult we come to know in His years of ministry. Yet, the Gospel reading appointed for the liturgy of Midpentecost is not the one from Luke, but John 7:14-30), which is clearly an account of Christ teaching in the Temple as an adult.
The inscription on the third icon is from John 7:37: If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. The theme of Christ as the Living Water is a recurring theme in the hymnography of Midpentecost, yet, intriguingly again, this passage is from the liturgy Gospel for the feast of Pentecost! So, it could be said that this third icon, which is easily the rarest of the three, is as much referring to Pentecost as Midpentecost.


I hope to post more later on, once I have more time. :)

#3 Kusanagi


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Posted 14 June 2013 - 04:25 PM

I am curious to know are there any traditions that any of the teachers after listening to Christ when he was a boy became his follower later on when Christ was preaching?

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: mid-pentecost, iconography, symbolism, living water, holy wisdom

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