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Old Believer Icon of the Crucifixion

Unknown Artist (Russian)

Orthodox Traditional Old Believer brass Crucifixion Icon, with extensive traditional inscriptions in Russian and/or church Slavonic, not intended to be worn. Seraphim on ends of arm top cross bar; within are angels with draped hands. Above is God the Father also called Christ as Hierarch Above the Clouds at top with dove as holy spirit between angels with draped hands. On either side of the body of Christ, lance and staff with vinegar sponge, below the feet of Christ at Golgotha the skull of Adam. Typical inscriptions in Russian and Church Slavonic. Under the descending angels divided inscription reads “King of All.” (or King of Glory.) Above the head of Christ, “Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews” in standard Russian abbreviation. In halo abbreviation for “He Who Is,” or “I am; that is who I am.” Divided between cross terminals are abbreviations as in both Greek and Russian for “Jesus Christ.” Above the lance and the sponge, “NIKA,” “Victory.” At the foot of the cross, four letter abbreviation for “Place of the Skull Became Paradise.” ALL LONG INSCRIPTIONS ARE TRADITIONAL. ON RECTO: Top line on cross bar is “The Crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The lower text on the cross bar is from the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross, “Before your cross we bow down, O Master, and your Holy Resurrection we glorify.” ON THE VERSO sufficient sections of text can be made out to confirm that these are lines of six specific Russian Old Believer prayers regularly inscribed on the verso of brass Crucifixion icons, here in eight lines the last two of which have a few barely legible letters, which nevertheless fit the text. PRAYER #1 on cross lines 1 and 2, “The Cross is the Guardian of the Universe.” PRAYER #2 on cross lines 2 and 3, “The Cross is the Beauty of the Church.” PRAYER #3 on cross lie 4, “The cross is the might (power) of Kings.” PRAYER #4 on cross lines 5 and 6, “The cross is the comfort of believers.” (“Believers” is in the middle piece, certainly for visibility, and the word for comfort which transliterates to “Utyverzhdenie” is clearly visible just below.) PRAYER #5 on line 7 is almost impossible to read, but is likely, “The cross is the glory of Angels.” PRAYER #6 appears to be on cross line 8 is “The Cross is the Plague of Demons.” Two letters which would fit the word for plague “Yasva” are just visible. Loop on back w/ string to hang.

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Provenance History
  • Owner Name: Marsden Hartley Estate

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