This 15th century Russian icon of the Pantocrator (Greek for “Ruler of All”) was originally on the top row of an iconostasis or altar icon screen from Novgorod. The Deisis represents the Lord with His Holy Saints and Angels supplicating towards Him. In these matching icons (T36: The Theotokos, S150: The Archangel Michael, and S162: St. Peter, all standing on Christ’s right hand, and S133: St. John the Baptist, S120: The Archangel Gabriel, and S160: St. Paul all standing on Christ’s left) their hands are outstretched and their heads are bowed towards Christ sitting on the Throne of His Kingdom which will never end.
Often in Byzantine iconography, and in all the schools of iconography which have been influenced by it, we see a type of strong asymmetrical dynamism which consciously precludes the symmetrical vision of life and Heaven which is static and is seen in most Western spiritual art. In Orthodox theology, God and all of Creation are dynamic, as are all the Saints (from the Latin Sanctus, meaning holy), who continually grow more holy for all Eternity. We all must become such saints if we want to go to live in Heaven.