Neck Cross Akimov 101.027 «Christ Enthroned. The Mother of God Enthroned»
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"By its shape the cross with the throne icon of the Lord Jesus Christ on the obverse, and that of the Holy Mother of God on the reverse resembles ancient Russian church. The cross and the church – these images are traditionally bound in Orthodoxy: church is crowned with cross and has a cross shape in projection; the saints on the icon are often blessed with a cross and an arch symbolizing temple; and a believer makes the sign of the cross over the temple of his or her body “Or don't you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's” (1Corinth.6, 19). The temple and the cross are the image of crucified Christ whose body is the temple (John 2, 21) and the Church (Col.1, 24); it is the image of the earthy world expiated by the cross and gathered into the Church; it is the image of Heavenly Jerusalem with no temple therein, for the Lord God Almighty is the temple thereof (Apoc. 21, 22). In sacrament of baptism one is christened into Christ and wears next-to-skin cross as a sign of belonging to the Church, and a symbol of paradise whereto one aspires.
On this cross Christ and the Mother of God as if sit nobly on the throne in a temple. Semicircles above their heads seem to be both chancel apses, and temple domes, of which the central is crowned by the Calvary Cross pictured at the ear. It is not accidental. The temple is constructed in such a way that dome and chancel symbolize the same – the Heavenly Kingdom.
Christ and the Holy Lady are twice pictured. On the obverse the Mother of God together with John the Baptist stands before Her Son; on the reverse She holds Him on Her hands as the Infant Christ. The Lord says: “For without me you can do nothing” (John 15, 5); that is why there is multitude of His holy images in every church. Holy Lady is nearby; being the Most Pure and the Most Blessed She was the only one selected among people for co-serving Him in the Temple of Universe. And Archangels Michael and Gabriel bow to Her and to the Infant Christ.
On the obverse Christ is shown in the middle of Deesis – so called is the composition of the Lord Almighty with the Mother of God and St. John the Forerunner Interceding. In church iconostasis Deesis tier enlarged by icons of archangels, saints, and martyrs is the basic. It symbolizes the perfect Church of the saints, which believers partake to during Sacramental Eucharist, as well as the earth Church will unite with after the Doomsday. On this Day of Judgment the Holy Lady will be our main the Heavenly Mediatress everlastingly praying to the Lord for us. The last prophet and the Lord Baptist, John the Forerunner is praying together with Her; it was he who first appealed to the mankind: “Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3, 2).
The world will change after the Doomsday. “There shall not enter into it any thing defiled or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie: but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb”. (Apoc. 21; 27). The book in Christ’s hand is that same human Destinies Book. Woe is to those whose names lack therein – the Holy Apostle says – retribution of God will befall them. These “are dogs and sorcerers and unchaste and murderers and servers of idols and every one that loveth and maketh a lie”. (Apoc. 22; 15).
The book on the icon has another meaning as well. It symbolizes New Testament, i.e. new treaty, new agreement that was covenanted between God and people while His first advent to the earth as human being Jesus. The main law of this Testament is Love Commandment: “as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13; 34).
The image of the cross with throne icons of Christ and the Holy Lady is a symbolic sermon of the human way to salvation and futurity, which is always the road of sorrows: it passes through the Church and with Christ, and is passable only with the help of God, and intercession of the Holy Lady, John the Baptist and other God's saints and angels.
Cross is great and victorious weapon for our salvation, holy symbol of Christendom. Therefore the Church precept is to bear it perennially. “Neither for an hour, not for a single moment should we, Christians, leave it”, as St. Ephraem the Syrian (†373г.) says, “but carry it everywhere whatever doing. Whether sleeping or staying awake, or working, or eating, or drinking, or heading for, or sailing, or getting over river – should we embellish all our limbs with vivifying Cross”."
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