The Angel Gabriel Icon and Its Place in the Temple
The Archangel Gabriel is the angel who plays an important role in many iconographic plots and, above all, the Annunciation scene. The Angel Gabriel icon adorns each iconostasis and sometimes even the temple space. This angel is given a special place both in plot compositions and icons depicting him alone.
The Angel Gabriel icon. Iconography
The Archangel Gabriel is depicted as a young man, with wings and a halo. His hair is gathered with a ribbon. The angel’s clothes usually combine blue, dark blue, green, white, pink, and red colors. The main visual difference between Gabriel and other angels lies in his attributes. He is often depicted with a branch of a palm tree, a lily flower, a rod, a scroll, or a mirror.
Image of the Archangel Gabriel in the temple
The placement of the Archangel Gabriel icon corresponds to the canonical tradition of space organization in temples. Images of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel located on the western wall, near the entrance of the church or monastery, became especially widespread in the 14-17th centuries. The Angel Gabriel icon or fresco was placed to the right of the door. The archangels were usually depicted with swords or scrolls in their hands to write the names and good deeds of the parishioners.
Gabriel`s icon is also often included in the iconostasis composition. His full-length image is located in the bottom tier on the Southern Gates. If the temple is named after the archangel, his icon can also be located at the place of the temple’s patron saint of the same local tier.
If the iconostasis is quite large and the Deisis tier is wide, the Angel Gabriel icon will take its place in it. According to the canon, the Archangel is depicted to the left of Christ, right after Saint John. Along with Michael, Gabriel is also depicted in another version of the Deisis called “Christ Emmanuel with angels.”
In some iconostases, where the scene of the Annunciation occupies a large space, the image of the Angel Gabriel is given a separate place. He is also a popular figure in many scenes of the Feast tier.
The Angel Gabriel icon is an essential attribute of any temple. Being a light, soulful image, it gives people faith and hope.