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» Iconofile Forum   » General Questions & Answers   » Is this an icon from Greece?

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Author Topic: Is this an icon from Greece?
Member # 355

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Hello Rob

It is quite possible this icon is Greek, though similar artistic styles are found in icons throughout the Balkans, particularly Bulgaria. The icon may have been produced anywhere between the 17th to the 19th centuries, according to the style of painting in the icon.

The inscriptions of the saints’ names are not clear enough for any positive identification to be made, but it is almost certain the saint on the left is not St Nicholas of Myra. St Nicholas is always shown with a short beard, not a long, pointed one, and, though he is bald, he has a little tuft of hair on the top of his head. The saint in your icon is holding a Gospel book in his left hand, and giving a blessing with his right. His fingers are arranged in the way a priest or bishop would do when blessing. The motifs of the Gospel book and the clerical blessing are extremely common in the iconography of saints who were priests or bishops. The vestments this saint is wearing are those of a bishop, from the period before bishops began to wear the sakkos instead of the phelonion as their outermost vestment. Priests who are not bishops continue to wear the phelonion to this day. (The sakkos is a mid-length, loose-fitting vestment with sleeves, the phelonion is a longer, sleeveless, cape-like garment.) Therefore this saint in your icon would be a bishop, probably from the period before the eleventh century.

The saint on the right is a monk, probably of the lesser schema rank. The scroll he holds appears to be written in Greek, rather than Slavonic. It is very difficult to work out whether what is written is a passage from scripture, or whether it is a saying associated with the saint. Would it be possible for you to post a clearer, higher-resolution picture of the scroll?

There is a possibility that the saints in this icon are Sts Cyril and Methodius, Enlighteners of the Slavs. St Cyril was a monk, and his brother Methodius eventually became Bishop of Moravia. The way these saints are painted (hair, beard, etc) are in similar style to the saints in your icon. The only detail which doesn’t quite fit is what is written on the scroll. Instead of a scripture passage or other saying, St Cyril’s scroll usually has the letters of the alphabet which he devised to allow the Slavonic language to be written down in a consistent form. This alphabet is known as the Cyrillic, in his honour.

I hope this helps.

Posts: 182 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Junior Member
Member # 498

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Recently I've bought this small icon. I think it is 18th century. The size is 16 x 18 cm.

When I bought it it was very dirty. Therefore a restaurateur cleaned it.

I think it represent a saint (Saint Nicholas?)and a priest and the icon is from Greece because the letters on the pamphlet of the priest looks Greece to me. Unfortunately the text on the pamphlet the saint is holding in his hand is not readable anymore. But I think he is holding the book of Lucas in his hand.

For more images CLICK HERE

My questions are:
Is the Icon from Greece?
Do you agree with met that the icon is from the 18th century?
Who are the saint and the priest?
What is the English text from the pamphlet of the priest?

Rob Vuijst




Posts: 2 | From: The Netherlands | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged

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