This icon is a beautiful example of the fine mosaic work that was done throughout much of Ravenna, Italy, in the 6th century when classical elements of style in the Byzantine heritage were put in many of the churches that were built at that time. The unified Roman Empire was under the aegis of the Emperor Justinian, the great codifier of Roman law, which still affects all of us today.
In the Basilica of St. Apolinaris, this icon of Christ seated on a throne with His right hand blessing has a luminous gold background and shows Christ in a dark red/brown robe. His left hand holds the scepter of a king. The detail on the throne has a green back cushion with blue highlights surrounding it, and a red bottom cushion. The face of Christ is expressive with a look of both penetrating wonder and kind blessings. In Christ’s halo is a jewel-studded cross. This is the King of Kings as spoken of in Revelations, “I am the Alpha and the Omega says the Lord, Which Is, Which Was, and Which Is To Come, the Almighty.” He is the Redeemer of immortal souls at the end of the ages. If we let Christ open our hearts, we will hear Him call, “Come unto me…and find your rest.”