One of the famous 16th century Stavronikita Festal set of icons, this icon depicts the Holy Ascension of the Lord from earth to Heaven. For forty days after His Resurrection, Christ appeared to His Disciples and taught them the basic foundations of Church life and practice including how to celebrate the Divine Liturgy which was later written down by St. James. He also consoled them from their grief and told them of the other Kingdom that He would establish not of this world, and would later send them out to preach this Gospel message. Here Christ is rising up before them all.
The monk Theophanes the Cretan painted this set of icons on the iconostasis, or icon screen which separates the Bema, or sacred Altar, from the body of the Church, or Nave, where the Faithful stand for Divine Liturgy and other liturgical services. The set shows many of the most important events in the life of Jesus and the Church in its early and formative stage. This icon is the 13th in that set. Theophanes’ icons are considered masterpieces of iconographic art, still adorn the church at Stavronikita Monastery on Mount Athos, and show marvelous Cretan post-Byzantine form.