Icon of the Pantocrator (Bulgarian) (18th c.) – J63


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Christ is seen here as “Pantocrator” which is the Greek word for “Ruler of All”, in this bright and colorful 18th century icon from Arbanassi, Bulgaria located just 4 kilometers northeast of Veliko Turnovo, the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (a.d. 1187-1393).  The icon is a part of the iconostasis or altar icon screen in the Rojdestvo Christovo church (Nativity of Christ) which was built between 1637 and 1649, and is dug into the ground without a belfry and with hidden cupolas because of the religious persecution under the Moslem rulers at that time.  This persecution was often fierce and continued during the time of the Turkish Yoke  for 482 years (1396-1878) until the Bulgarian war of independence in 1877-78 at the time of the Russo-Turkish War.  The church is a repository of over 3,500 stunningly bright icon treasures.

Christ’s fingers of His right hand are formed into the shape of the Greek letters “IC XC,” the abbreviation in Greek for Jesus Christ, and He holds in His left arm an open Book of the Gospels.  The most important choice of our life is to recognize that truly Christ is the loving Ruler of All, and to act accordingly.

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Nativity Church, Arbanassi, Bulgaria


18th c. (Early)