Myrrhbearers Standing by the Empty Tomb Icon

Myrrhbearers Standing by the Empty Tomb Icon

The symbolic depiction of the Resurrection of Christ as the key religious event of the Gospels is reflected in many religious icons. One of them is Myrrhbearers Standing by the Empty Tomb icon. Myrrhbearers were the first witnesses of the empty tomb of the Rosen Jesus Christ, who came in the morning on the first day after Sabbath to the Tomb. Some features of this scene may vary in different icons, but the general meaning of the story is always preserved. So what is the religious legend of this important icon? 

Religious story of the Empty Tomb icon

According to the Jewish tradition, a dead body had to be anointed with aromas and fragrances to be prepared to accept death. A group of women, who are called the myrrhbearers in the Orthodox Church, followed Christ to Golgotha, where they witnessed His Crucifixion and Passion. And it was them who first learned that Jesus had risen. The women are thought to be Mary Magdalene and other righteous women who loved and prayed to God. They visited the Tomb, carrying the vessels with precious myrrh, but the Angel sitting next to the Tomb told the myrrhbearers that Christ had risen and would meet them in Galilee. The Angel blessed the women to go to the disciples and tell that the prophecy was fulfilled. “He must take the same human death as we all do, but not remain dead forever, and on the third day resurrect.” 

Different variations of the icon

Myrrhbearers Standing by the Empty Tomb icon depicts the myrrhbearers with vessels of myrrh in their hands and the Angel in light white clothes, sitting near the empty tomb. The number of the myrrhbearers depicted in different icons may vary from two or three to seven, including Mary Magdalene shown aside and the Mother of God depicted in the foreground.

The mountain or the city of Jerusalem, surrounded by a fortress wall with towers, is usually depicted in the background. The figure of Christ pointing at the city that symbolizes the Heavenly Jerusalem often appears above the central image, between the Angel and the myrrhbearers.

As you can see, Myrrhbearers Standing by the Empty Tomb icon has an interesting story behind it. This symbolic image of the Resurrection of Christ is very important for the entire religious world and highly venerated by all Orthodox Christian believers.