Major Types of Jesus Christ Icons
Among many beautiful religious icon paintings, icons of Jesus Christ have always stood out. They are the first to buy for your home iconostasis and the first to add to your icon collection. After all, each of them is a clear confirmation of the fact that God really became a man, which made it possible to portray Him, and also a promise that one day we will see Him face to face. Besides, it is believed that Jesus Christ icons, as well as all other Eastern Orthodox icons, are “windows into heaven” that make the invisible world visible.
Today, there are multiple ways to depict Jesus Christ. Most of them are related to hand-painted icons with complex compositions featuring Christ surrounded by many other figures, but there are also several iconographic types where God is shown alone. Overall, such icons of Christ usually depict Him as a teacher, holding a scroll or a book in His hands. However, there are still variations of this image you should know about.
Made Without Hands
Icons of Jesus Christ Made Without Hands are probably the most beloved among Orthodox believers. According to the Christian tradition, the first icon of Christ of this type appeared on the white cloth miraculously when God wiped His face with the towel. That towel was then sent to King Abgar of Edessa to heal him from leprosy. It is no wonder that this image of Christ’s face is considered the most accurate and, therefore, the most venerated one.
The icon of Christ Pantocrator, also known as Christ Almighty, is among the most common images in Eastern Orthodox iconography. It depicts God half-length, with His left hand holding a Gospel book and the right hand raised in blessing. This image can be usually found inside the central dome of an Orthodox church building.
Man of Sorrows
This type of Jesus Christ icons shows “the suffering” Christ, usually descending into the tomb. It is worth noting that you won’t see any physical suffering in Russian icons of this type, where the passion of Christ is presented with only token bleeding. However, some Orthodox icons depict Jesus in the crown of thorns, which is undoubtedly associated with horror, pain, and grief.
Christ in Majesty
Eastern Orthodox icons of this type often depict Jesus Christ full-length, with a Gospel book, sitting on a spiritual throne at the center of the composition. He is usually surrounded by mandorla, the eternal blue-green light that symbolizes the Glory of God. Such icons may also include the images of the four Gospel writers depicted in the form of an eagle, an ox, a lion, and an angel.
These were the most important types of Jesus Christ icons venerated by Christian believers all over the world. If you are only starting your collection or looking for the first icon for your home iconostasis, any of them will be the right choice. Browse our collection of antique Russian icons to find more!