Anastasis Icon, The

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The icon of the Resurrection (Anastasis), sometimes known as 'The Harrowing of Hell' was developed in the ninth century, and took several variant forms.

Anastasis Icon, The

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The icon of the Resurrection (Anastasis), sometimes known as 'The Harrowing of Hell' was developed in the ninth century, and took several variant forms.

This version is modelled on a mosaic in the monastery of Daphni in Athens. The church was built in 1100AD and the mosaics are original.

The icon depicts the Risen Christ raising Adam and Eve, who represent the human race. At the same time, Christ is trampling on the gates of hell and breaking the power of evil (portrayed here as a strong man who is bound); the broken bonds and key indicate our liberation.

David and Solomon, a father and son combination, give Christ the status of royalty, while John the Baptist blesses the Lamb of god.

In this icon, the placement of the cross has a special significance. Firstly, it is positioned betweeen Adam and Christ indicatiing that the way to life is through the cross. Secondly, the foot of the cross is firmly on the neck of the evil one, indicating the power by which evil is contained. Note, how the hand of the evil one grasps the foot of Adam, and is unwilling to let him go. The experience of receiving new life through Christ does not make us immune from sin.

The wounds in the hands and feet of Christ are visible and indicate that it is the crucified one whom God raised up. It is the Lamb who is on the throne. The background at the base is dark and deathly but above it is golden: incorruptible, eternal and blazing with light.

Additional Information

Author Painter: Rev Dr Rob Gallacher
Cover No
Width (mm) 110
Height (mm) 155

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