Greek icon | St John Chrysostom

Icon: St John Chrysostom H-27

Origin :
Greece
Period :
17th century
Size :
25.5 x 19.5 cm
Provenance :
Collection Marques de Balbueno, Spain

St John Chrysostom is portrayed half-length and frontal while making a sign of blessing with his right hand and holding a closed Book of Gospels with his other hand. He has short brown hair and a short beard. As a saint he is not looking at the viewer, but instead his gaze is slightly averted. This means that St John is contemplating and looking into another, spiritual world, which is not visible yet for human beings. As a bishop St John wears an ochre coloured chasuble (phelonion) and a white stole (omophorion) decorated with large black crosses. 

St John Chrysostom was born around AD 357 in Antioch and died in Asia Minor in 407. He is regarded as one of the most important theologians of the Christian Church. The earliest representations of St John can be found on a fresco in the church of S. Maria Antiqua in Rome and on an encaustic icon in the Sinai monastery, both of which date from the eighth century. 

The epithet ‘Chrysostom’ literally means ‘golden mouth’. John became known by this name on account of his eloquence. The liturgy celebrated in the Orthodox Church since the eighth and ninth centuries is attributed to Saint John Chrysostom. Before this the liturgy of Basil the Great was mainly observed. The Chrysostom liturgy is apparently preferred as it is considerably shorter.
 

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