Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Not-Made-by-Human-Hands (Mandylion/Acheiropoieta)
Oil on wooden board
12" x 16" x .5"

This icon was a commission for the St Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church in Jamaica Estates, NY. 

The facial features and overall style was done to match the existing icons at St Nicholas church. 

The Icon of the Savior, Image Not-Made-By-Hands is one of the earliest icons witnessed to by the Church. According to the tradition during the time of the earthly ministry of the Savior, Abgar, ruler in the Syrian city of Edessa, was afflicted with leprosy. Reports of the great miracles performed by the Lord extended throughout Syria (Matt. 4:24) and as far as Arabia at this time. Abgar believed in Him and sent his court painter, Ananias, to Palestine telling him to paint an image of the Divine Teacher. However Ananias was not able to do so because of the light shining from the Lord's face, so He called Ananias and promised to send His disciple in order to heal Abgar from the leprosy and instruct him in salvation. Then the Lord called for water and a towel. He wiped His face with the towel, and on it was His Divine Image, which the Savior sent to Edessa back with Ananias. 

Abgar received the sacred objects with thanksgiving and started healing. He continued healing until the arrival of the disciple Thaddeus, Apostle of the 70. The Apostle preached the Gospel and baptized the Abgar and all living in Edessa. 

For many years the object hanged over the gates of the city but Edessa, a great-grandson of Abgar, fell into idolatry and was determined to remove the image. In a vision, the Lord ordered the Bishop of Edessa to conceal the image. The bishop and his clergy at night, blocked up the niche with clay tablets and bricks inclosing with it a lit oil lamp. 

Many years passed by and the inhabitants forgot about the Holy Object. In the year 545, the Persian King Chroses I, besieged Edessa, and all seemed hopeless. But Bishop Evlavios was commanded by a vision of the Theotokos to get from the enclosed niche the image with which to save the city from the adversaries. Dismantling the niche, the Bishop found the Holy Image; before it burned the oil lamp.

There are several traditions concerning the fate of the Image Not-Made-By-Hands. One is that it was carried away by Crusaders during the time of their dominion over Constantinople (1204-61), but the ship on which Holy Objects had been taken, sank in the Sea of ​​Marmora. Another is that the Image Not-Made-By-Hands was taken about 1362 to Genoa, where it was presented to and preserved in a monastery dedicated to the Apostle Bartholomew. (1)

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