This brightly colored contemporary icon of Christ the Lord Enthroned is a detail of the Deisis (from the Greek word for Supplication) icon that was painted in 1992 at Nea Skiti on Mount Athos. This monastery follows the Skete or middle form of monastic life, part way between the ascetic eremetic life and the all things in common cenobitic life. This Skete life is the form of monastic life most praised at the beginning of St. John of the Ladder’s instructions on monasticism in the 7th century.
The Lord sits on His Throne in Glory as He will appear on the Day of Judgment to separate the sheep from the goats. He has an open Gospel Book signifying that His message has gone out over all the earth and this message has given the standard by which all men will be judged. His right hand is raised in blessing, and His fingers form the Greek letters “IC XC” which are an abbreviation for “Jesus Christ” and is the form in which Orthodox priests bless the Faithful. So we see Christ as the Merciful Lord on His Throne blessing all who come to follow Him, but gives us warning of the standards we must make our own to live with Him forever.