Neck Cross Akimov 101.281 «Crucifix. Michael the Archangel. Kazan Icon of the Mother of God»
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- Miniature relief, casting, gilding, niello, handwork.
"Next-to-the-skin cross agglomerated the images from yore especially revered in Russia for its guarding efficacy.
The image of the Lord Jesus Christ is central on every cross. It is to Christ who has come down to earth for the sake of human salvation, that all the prayers are offered. The Most Holy Mother of God, the angels and the saints are the Lord’s assistants in salvation, and intercessors for the people before God. The obverse shows the Crucifixion icon – an image of the sacrifice made by God for human sins. Church refers to cross as to ""Great weapon of Christ"", because having endured Passions and dyed, the Lord overcame death and ousted the devil from his power over the world. The antique form of the Crucifix shows the image of the Son of God lifted up to the Cross, stretching out His hands as if seeking to embrace the world. Orthodox Crucifix retains fashion of Christ’s suffering and at the same time conveys dogmatic profoundness of its meaning with amazing fidelity. The Lord’s body is not hanging, but solemnly resting on the Cross. Crucified and deceased, Christ is miraculously alive in His death. And looking at the Orthodox Crucifix we always know that Christ not only died for human sins, but also arose!
Savior Crucified is from both sides beforestood by the Most Holy Mother of God and St. John, the Apostle. They remained beside the Lord’s Cross right through Passions. Right and left grieving angels are flying, and at the top the prepared Throne is depicted called ""Hetoimasia "", in Greek. This throne the Lord prepared for Himself by His sufferings. He will sit on it after the resurrection of the dead for the Last Judgment at the end of times.
On the cross reverse side we see Michael the Archangel, the mightiest of the angels. It was he who crashed the devil down and took on leadership of the angels in fight against demonic forces. His name means ""Who is like God?"", since he is the most powerful and rampant adversary of evil. Princes and soldiers of old Rus’ sought to be protected by Heavenly Voivode, and often decorated their helmets with his winged figure. In Rus’they also believed that being the implacable enemy of the devil Michael the Archangel defends the souls of the dead from demonic attacks when escorting them to Heaven. Therefore, graveyard churches were often dedicated to him.
At the top, above the image of the Archangel there is the icon of the Most Holy Mother of God, with hands lifted in prayer. For developing this iconography an Old Testament story was very important, telling about a battle of Israelites with Amalekite troops: ""And when Moses raised his hands, Israel prevailed, and when he let his hands down, Amalek prevailed. And were his hands up until the sundown. And Jesus will overthrow Amalek ... And Moses built an altar to the Lord, and called the name: Jehovah Nissih (the Lord is my gonfalon) ""(Is. 10-11; 12-13; 15.). Moses prayed for the Israel God-entrusted to him, leading people through the desert to the Promised Land; and the Most Holy Mother of God is eternal interceder with God and woman of prayer for all creatures, leading them from a spiritual desert to the Kingdom of heaven. And while She is praying, while Her hands are lifted, peoples of the world will win the invisible battle against the forces of hell.
In such iconography the icon most famous with the miracles, is ""Our Lady of the Sign"", or “Znа́meniye”. During the Battle of Novgorod and Suzdal in 1169 the Mother of God on the icon started tearing. Since then, the Most Holy Mother of God grieving for ""rancor discord of this world"", had become in this image a powerful defender of the righteous opposing to the evil."
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