Icon of St. Paul, Vision of (Stroganov, 1579) – S395


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Church Feast Day 1



Egg Tempera


Solvychegodsk Museum of History and Art, Solvychegodsk, Russia




16th c. (Late)


This icon of the Vision of St. Paul is from the iconostasis of the Sol’vycegodsk Annunciation Cathedral in Russia, and is now kept in the Sol’vycegodsk Museum.  It refers to how St. Paul, when writing to the Corinthians in his second epistle to them, talks about a man who was taken up to the Third Heaven and Paradise “and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (II Cor. 12:4).  This man, according to the Fathers, was St. Paul.

Here he is seen in joyous dance with his arms outstretched venerating Christ his God.  Around him are the twelve gates of the Heavenly Jerusalem as told of in the visions of the Apocalypse.  Within this Heavenly Jerusalem, Christ is seated in resplendent white garments, and His Virgin Mother and St. John the Forerunner are supplicating before Him.  Groups of the Holy Saints are also in gleaming white and standing on either side: bishops and apostles, prophets and kings, righteous men and women, and the holy martyrs.  Their clothes signify glory, purity, and prayer.  The holy angels are taking the crown from the city to give to the blessed saints.  The icon was commissioned by the Stroganovs in a.d. 1579.