Many Byzantine mosaics are found in the 9th century Church of Santa Prassede (the sister of St. Pudenciana) built by Pope Pascal II. In the church is also a chapel of St. Zeno which is a mausoleum to the pope’s mother, Theodora. This icon is found in the vault of that chapel. The particular motif of angels holding up the rondel of Christ as “Pantocrator” (which is from the Greek “Ruler of All”) comes from the famous Byzantine mosaics at Ra-venna, Italy, where some of the very best icon mosaics are found.
Around the Lord are bright golden mosaic tiles forming most of the outer frame and the circle surrounding Him. The golden tiles also make up much of His robes and halo or nimbus to give this icon a noticeable luminosity. Christ holds in His right hand the top of a closed scroll, which usually represents the fulfillment of the Old Testament Holy Prophets’ words concerning Him. He is the fulfillment also of every other good thing that even the Prophets could not fully imagine, for in His Incarnation and His Resurrection all things are made anew, for the Kingdom is now at hand. May we be there with Him fully someday!