The Blessing Christ by Mary Elizabeth Podles

The Blessing Christ

This image is one of the earliest surviving icons of Jesus. Kept since the sixth century at the Monastery of St. Catherine at Mt. Sinai in Egypt, it escaped the destruction of the iconoclasts and, protected by overpainting and the dry desert air, has remained almost undamaged to this day.

This large icon (about 33 x 18 inches in size) shows Christ in half-length, not in a narrative context but posed frontally and directing a steady gaze outward. Behind him hangs a wall covering known as the cloth of honor. His right hand is raised in blessing: three of the fingers touch to represent the presence of the Trinity; the other two are raised, and denot . . .