Orthodox Icons

Five Interesting Facts about Orthodox Icons

Ask most Orthodox people today whether they visit a church at least one day a year, and the majority will say ‘yes’. Being in a quandary, people are used to pray in front of the church icons and ponder over life issues. Icons are indeed an integral part of these holy places, and each of them has its own history. Besides, they are incredibly beautiful and meaningful in many ways. If you want to understand them to the fullest, check out the following five fascinating facts about Orthodox icons.

Five interesting facts about Orthodox icons

Symbolic colors

The diverse colors in icons not only attract attention but also express a certain idea. The meaning of colors in religious icons is far from superficial; you need to look deeper. For example, gold is a token of Jesus Christ and His divinity. It symbolizes His authority and importance for the entire religion. Red means the endless lust for life, vigor, and Rebirth. Many icons thus have a red background that accounts for the celebration of life. The beginning of life is represented by the green color.


The beauty of sundry icons could be observed everywhere in the church, and yet, the most important ones are placed in the iconostasis. This wall of religious paintings, separating the altar from the sanctuary in a church, includes icons that glorify Christ, the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, and other saints. The iconostasis is the most conspicuous and distinctive feature of Orthodox churches.

Icons without a signature

If you take a closer look at the icon, most likely you won’t see a signature on it. While there are some known icon painters, the majority of Orthodox icons are created anonymously. The reason is quite obvious: the aim of the icon painter is not to receive honors but to glorify God. Nevertheless, the iconographer could be identified by their style of painting.

Distinctive appearance of holy figures

Holy figures depicted in icons usually have a high forehead, closed lips, and deeper wrinkles. Such a distinctive appearance has a reason. In fact, it all comes down to spirituality. The high forehead implies wisdom, while deeper wrinkles are a symbol of knowledge. Closed lips, in their turn, symbolize the importance of silence.

Depiction of the Christ Child

In Orthodox icons, icon painters depict the Christ Child like a little adult man on purpose. The reason for this is that they try to remove the allusion to the baby. With such an image, icon painters also make people understand the development of God in becoming human.

Now that you know more about Orthodox Christian icons, you will understand them better. Stay with us to learn other interesting facts from the amazing world of religious icons!