5 Saints Who Are Often Depicted in Greek Orthodox Icons
The word iconography stems from the Greek word εἰκών, which is “an image,” and γράφειν, which means “to write.” These are Greek Orthodox icons that are considered some of the oldest in the world. Back in ancient times, Greek clergy laid down the foundation for the development of the icon painting craft itself. Symbolism and the meaning of the icons of the distant past markedly influenced the spread of iconography in the Byzantine Empire, Rus, and then in Russia.
Due to the different geographical and historical peculiarities, there are major differences between Russian and Greek icons. One of them is the constellation of saints who were depicted in icons. Apparently, each church has its own list of revered individuals. Below you can find the list of famous saints who are venerated in the Greek Orthodox Church and were often depicted in Greek sacred icons.
5 saints who are often depicted in Greek Orthodox icons
1. Achillius of Larissa
Saint Achillius (pictured above), or Achilles, was the Bishop of Larissa in the fourth century. He was respected for destroying pagan temples and building many Christian churches instead. Nowadays, one of the districts of modern-day Larissa is named after the saint.
2. Saint Phanourios
Despite his often emergence in the Greek Orthodox icons, not so much is known about Saint Phanourios. During his lifetime, the great martyr helped people find the right path in life and restore their health.
3. Saint Philothei
At the age of 12, Saint Philothei was pressured into a cruel and abusive marriage. Her parents died afterward. Later in life, she took up a monastic life. During the invasion of Ottoman Turks in Athens, many enslaved women ran to her monasteries for refuge. As a result, she was beaten to death by Ottoman mercenaries for helping refugees.
4. Cosmas of Aetolia
Also known as Father Cosmas, Cosmas of Aetolia was a monk in the Eastern Orthodox Church. There are not many Greek Orthodox icons devoted to the saint, and yet his figure is very famous for making prophecies and establishing various religious movements in Greece.
5. John III Doukas Vatatzes
John Doukas Vatatzes was the respected Emperor of Nicaea, the largest of three Byzantine Greek rump states in the first part of the 13th century. He was a successful ruler and was canonized as Saint John the Merciful a half-century after his death.
If interested, one can find more Greek Orthodox icons and images of saints. It is exciting how each state and nation has its own canonized people who have become symbols of different kinds of virtues for millions of Christians.