Russian icon | Evangelist St Marc

Icon: Evangelist St Marc B-1

from a Royal Door

Origin :
Northern-Russia
Period :
16th century
Size :
58.5 x 41 cm
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The icon shows St Marc the Evangelist against an architectural background, making a gesture of blessing towards the first words of his Gospel. His symbol, the eagle holding a Gospel Book, appears above in a dark blue segment of heaven. St Marc is dressed in a red tunic and a greyish-green mantle (pallium). The allocation of symbols to the evangelists in the Orthodox Church differs from that in the West where the eagle represents St John and the lion St Marc. According to the church father Ireneus the eagle stands for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which rests on the Church.

Originally the icon was worshipped in the iconostasis as part of the Royal Doors. Usually St Marc is depicted below on the right wing of the Royal Doors. These Doors, which are placed in the centre of the iconostasis, give access to the sanctuary of the church: the altar, the Holy of Holies. They act as the ‘Gates to Heaven’. Opening the Doors symbolises opening the Kingdom of Heaven for the faithful.