This modern Greek icon was painted by Monk Michael of Mount Athos and portrays the theme of the Deisis, or supplication of the Saints towards the Lord and their God. Here Christ on a throne as the Ruler of All is seated in Heaven and the Holy Ones who have loved Him well and followed the Lamb wherever He goes are standing behind Him on either side with both of their hands raised in supplication, asking that their prayers for the Faithful be graciously heard. The reason that the two sons of Zebedee would not be granted by the Lord to sit on His right hand and on His left in the Kingdom that would come is that these places had already been reserved for the Holy Virgin Theotokos on His right, and the Glorious Prophet and Forerunner John on His left. These two most perfectly epitomized in their lives on earth energetic love, devotion, and obedience to their Lord and God Jesus Christ; thus, in God’s Wisdom, they now stand near Him always.
At times this theme is expanded to include more Saints standing further out from the Virgin and St. John and often include the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, and Ss. Peter and Paul.