In Christian iconography, Christ Pantocrator (Greek : Χριστὸς Παντοκράτωρ) is a specific depiction of Christ. Pantocrator or Pantokrator is, used in this context, derived from of one of many names of God in Judaism.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
Apart from Jesus being described as wearing tzitzit - the tassels on a tallit - in Matthew 14:36 and Luke 8:43-44, there is no useful description of the physical appearance of Jesus given in the New Testament and the depiction of Jesus in pictorial form was controversial in the early Church. The depiction of him in art took several centuries to reach a conventional standardized form for his physical appearance, which has subsequently remained largely stable since that time. Most images of Jesus have in common a number of traits which are now almost universally associated with Jesus, although variants are seen.
The name of God most often used in the Hebrew Bible is Yeloim. Adonai Yeloim. י..הו.ה). It is written in most English editions of the Bible as "the Lord" owing to the Jewish tradition increasingly viewing the divine name as too sacred to be uttered. It was thus replaced vocally in the synagogue ritual by the Hebrew word Adonai ("Master"), which was translated as Kyrios ("Lord") in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures.
The Pantokrator, largely an Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholic theological conception, is less common by that name in Western (Roman) Catholicism and largely unknown to most Protestants. In the West the equivalent image in art is known as Christ in Majesty, which developed a rather different iconography. Christ Pantocrator has come to suggest Christ as a mild but stern, all-powerful judge of humanity.
Christ in Majesty or Christ in Glory is the Western Christian image of Christ seated on a throne as ruler of the world, always seen frontally in the centre of the composition, and often flanked by other sacred figures, whose membership changes over time and according to the context. The image develops from Early Christian art, as a depiction of the Heavenly throne as described in 1 Enoch, Daniel 7, and The Apocalypse of John. In the Byzantine world, the image developed slightly differently into the half-length Christ Pantocrator, "Christ, Ruler of All", a usually unaccompanied figure, and the Deesis, where a full-length enthroned Christ is entreated by Mary and St. John the Baptist, and often other figures. In the West, the evolving composition remains very consistent within each period until the Renaissance, and then remains important until the end of the Baroque, in which the image is ordinarily transported to the sky.
Iconography, as a branch of art history, studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images: the subjects depicted, the particular compositions and details used to do so, and other elements that are distinct from artistic style. The word iconography comes from the Greek εἰκών ("image") and γράφειν.
When the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek as the Septuagint, Pantokrator was used both for YHWH Sabaoth "Lord of Hosts"and for El Shaddai "God Almighty". In the New Testament, Pantokrator is used once by Paul (2 Cor 6:18) and nine times in the Book of Revelation: 1:8, 4:8, 11:17, 15:3, 16:7, 16:14, 19:6, 19:15, and 21:22. The references to God the Father and God the Son in Revelation are at times interchangeable, Pantokrator appears to be reserved for the Father except, perhaps, in 1:8.
The Hebrew Bible, also called the Tanakh or Mikra, is the canonical collection of Jewish texts, which is also the textual source for the Christian Old Testament. These texts are composed mainly in Biblical Hebrew, with some passages in Biblical Aramaic. The form of this text that is authoritative for Rabbinic Judaism is known as the Masoretic Text (MT), and is divided into 24 books, while the Protestant Bible translations divide the same material into 39 books.
The Septuagint is the earliest extant Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures from the original Hebrew. It is estimated that the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, known as the Torah or Pentateuch, were translated in the mid-3rd century BCE and the remaining texts were translated in the 2nd century BCE. Considered the primary Greek translation of the Old Testament, it is quoted a number of times in the New Testament,particularly in the Pauline epistles,by the Apostolic Fathers, and later by the Greek Church Fathers.
El Shaddai or just Shaddai is one of the names of the God of Israel. El Shaddai is conventionally translated as God Almighty but the construction of the phrase fits the pattern of the divine appellations in the Ancient Near East and as such can convey various types of semantic relations between these two words: El of a place known as Shaddai, El possessing the quality of shaddai, or El who is also known as Shaddai – exactly as is the case with the names like "’El Olam", "’El Elyon" or "’El Betel". Moreover, while the translation of El as "God" or "Lord" in the Ugaritic/Canaanite language is straightforward, the literal meaning of Shaddai is the subject of debate.
The most common translation of Pantocrator is "Almighty" or "All-powerful". In this understanding, Pantokrator is a compound word formed from the Greek words πᾶς, pas ( GEN παντόςpantos), i.e. "all" and κράτος, kratos, i.e. "strength", "might", "power". This is often understood in terms of potential power; i.e., ability to do anything, omnipotence.
Omnipotence is the quality of having unlimited power. Monotheistic religions generally attribute omnipotence to only the deity of their faith. In the monotheistic philosophies of Abrahamic religions, omnipotence is often listed as one of a deity's characteristics among many, including omniscience, omnipresence, and omnibenevolence. The presence of all these properties in a single entity has given rise to considerable theological debate, prominently including the problem of theodicy, the question of why such a deity would permit the manifestation of evil.
Another, more literal translation is "Ruler of All" or, less literally, "Sustainer of the World". In this understanding, Pantokrator is a compound word formed from the Greek for "all" and the verb meaning "To accomplish something" or "to sustain something" (κρατεῖν, kratein). This translation speaks more to God's actual power; i.e., God does everything (as opposed to God can do everything).
The icon of Christ Pantokrator is one of the most common religious images of Orthodox Christianity. Generally speaking, in Medieval eastern roman church art and architecture, an iconic mosaic or fresco of Christ Pantokrator occupies the space in the central dome of the church, in the half-dome of the apse, or on the nave vault. Some scholars (Latourette 1975: 572) consider the Pantocrator a Christian adaptation of images of Zeus, such as the great statue of Zeus enthroned at Olympia. The development of the earliest stages of the icon from Roman Imperial imagery is easier to trace.
Byzantine art refers to the body of Christian Greek artistic products of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, as well as the nations and states that inherited culturally from the empire. Though the empire itself emerged from the decline of Rome and lasted until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the start date of the Byzantine period is rather clearer in art history than in political history, if still imprecise. Many Eastern Orthodox states in Eastern Europe, as well as to some degree the Muslim states of the eastern Mediterranean, preserved many aspects of the empire's culture and art for centuries afterward.
In architecture, an apse is a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault or semi-dome, also known as an exedra. In Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic Christian church architecture, the term is applied to a semi-circular or polygonal termination of the main building at the liturgical east end, regardless of the shape of the roof, which may be flat, sloping, domed, or hemispherical. Smaller apses may also be in other locations, especially shrines.
The nave is the central part of a church, stretching from the main entrance or rear wall, to the transepts, or in a church without transepts, to the chancel. When a church contains side aisles, as in a basilica-type building, the strict definition of the term "nave" is restricted to the central aisle. In a broader, more colloquial sense, the nave includes all areas available for the lay worshippers, including the side-aisles and transepts. Either way, the nave is distinct from the area reserved for the choir and clergy.
The image of Christ Pantocrator was one of the first images of Christ developed in the Early Christian Church and remains a central icon of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In the half-length image, Christ holds the New Testament in his left hand and makes the gesture of teaching or of blessing with his right. The typical Western Christ in Majesty is a full-length icon. In the early Middle Ages, it usually presented Christ in a mandorla or other geometric frame, surrounded by the Four Evangelists or their symbols.
Early Christianity covers the period from its origins until the First Council of Nicaea (325). This period is typically divided into the Apostolic Age and the Ante-Nicene Period.
The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 200–260 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods, although roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.
The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first part being the Old Testament, based on the Hebrew Bible. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture. The New Testament has frequently accompanied the spread of Christianity around the world. It reflects and serves as a source for Christian theology and morality. Extended readings and phrases directly from the New Testament are incorporated into the various Christian liturgies. The New Testament has influenced religious, philosophical, and political movements in Christendom and left an indelible mark on literature, art, and music.
The oldest known surviving example of the icon of Christ Pantocrator was painted in encaustic on panel in the sixth or seventh century, and survived the period of destruction of images during the Iconoclastic disputes that twice racked the Eastern church, 726 to 787 and 814 to 842. It was preserved in Saint Catherine's Monastery, in the remote desert of the Sinai.The gessoed panel, finely painted using a wax medium on a wooden panel, had been coarsely overpainted around the face and hands at some time around the thirteenth century. When the overpainting was cleaned in 1962, the ancient image was revealed to be a very high-quality icon, probably produced in Constantinople.
The icon, traditionally half-length when in a semi-dome,which became adopted for panel icons also, depicts Christ fully frontal with a somewhat melancholy and stern aspect, with the right hand raised in blessing or, in the early encaustic panel at Saint Catherine's Monastery, the conventional rhetorical gesture that represents teaching. The left hand holds a closed book with a richly decorated cover featuring the Cross, representing the Gospels. An icon where Christ has an open book is called "Christ the Teacher", a variant of the Pantocrator. Christ is bearded, his brown hair centrally parted, and his head is surrounded by a halo. The icon is usually shown against a gold background comparable to the gilded grounds of mosaic depictions of the Christian emperors.
Often, the name of Christ is written on each side of the halo, as IC and XC. Christ's fingers are depicted in a pose that represents the letters IC, X and C, thereby making the Christogram ICXC (for "Jesus Christ"). The IC is composed of the Greek characters iota (Ι) and lunate sigma (C; instead of Σ, ς)—the first and last letters of 'Jesus' in Greek (Ἰησοῦς); in XC the letters are chi (Χ) and again the lunate sigma—the first and last letters of 'Christ' in Greek (Χριστός).
In many cases, Christ has a cruciform halo inscribed with the letters Ο Ω Ν, i.e. ὁ ὢν "He Who Is".
A mosaic is a piece of art or image made from the assembling of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It is often used in decorative art or as interior decoration. Most mosaics are made of small, flat, roughly square, pieces of stone or glass of different colors, known as tesserae. Some, especially floor mosaics, are made of small rounded pieces of stone, and called "pebble mosaics".
A Madonna is a representation of Mary, either alone or with her child Jesus. These images are central icons for both the Catholic and Orthodox churches. The word is from Italian ma donna, meaning 'my lady'. The Madonna and Child type is very prevalent in Christian iconography, divided into many traditional subtypes especially in Eastern Orthodox iconography, often known after the location of a notable icon of the type, such as the Theotokos of Vladimir, Agiosoritissa, Blachernitissa, etc., or descriptive of the depicted posture, as in Hodegetria, Eleusa, etc.
Saint Catherine's Monastery, officially "Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai", lies on the Sinai Peninsula, at the mouth of a gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai, near the town of Saint Catherine, Egypt. The monastery is controlled by the autonomous Church of Sinai, part of the wider Eastern Orthodox Church, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Daphni or Dafni is an eleventh-century Byzantine monastery eleven kilometers northwest of central Athens in the suburb of Chaidari, south of Athinon Avenue (GR-8A). It is situated near the forest of the same name, on the Sacred Way that led to Eleusis. The forest covers about 18 km2 (7 sq mi), and surrounds a laurel grove. "Daphni" is the modern Greek name that means "laurel grove", derived from Daphneion (Lauretum).
Gelati is a medieval monastic complex near Kutaisi in the Imereti region of western Georgia. A masterpiece of the Georgian Golden Age, Gelati was founded in 1106 by King David IV of Georgia and is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
In Byzantine art, and later Eastern Orthodox art generally, the Deësis or Deisis, is a traditional iconic representation of Christ in Majesty or Christ Pantocrator: enthroned, carrying a book, and flanked by the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist, and sometimes other saints and angels. Mary and John, and any other figures, are shown facing towards Christ with their hands raised in supplication on behalf of humanity.
A halo is a crown of light rays, circle or disk of light that surrounds a person in art. It has been used in the iconography of many religions to indicate holy or sacred figures, and has at various periods also been used in images of rulers or heroes. In the sacred art of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, among other religions, sacred persons may be depicted with a halo in the form of a circular glow, or flames in Asian art, around the head or around the whole body—this last one is often called a mandorla. Halos may be shown as almost any color or combination of colors, but are most often depicted as golden, yellow or white when representing light or red when representing flames.
Pantokrator may refer to:
Eastern Orthodox church architecture constitutes a distinct, recognizable family of styles among church architectures. These styles share a cluster of fundamental similarities, having been influenced by the common legacy of Byzantine architecture from the Eastern Roman Empire. Some of the styles have become associated with the particular traditions of one specific autocephalous Orthodox patriarchate, whereas others are more widely used within the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Zeyrek Mosque or Monastery of the Pantocrator, is a significant mosque in Istanbul, made of two former Eastern Orthodox churches and a chapel. It represents the most typical example of architecture of the Byzantine middle period in Constantinople and is, after Hagia Sophia, the second largest religious edifice built by the Byzantines still standing in Istanbul.
The Epitaphios is a Christian religious icon, typically consisting of a large, embroidered and often richly adorned cloth, bearing an image of the dead body of Christ, often accompanied by his mother and other figures, following the Gospel account. It is used during the liturgical services of Good Friday and Holy Saturday in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, as well as those Eastern Catholic Churches, which follow the Byzantine Rite. It also exists in painted or mosaic form, on wall or panel.
The painting of the Tarnovo Artistic School was the mainstream of the Bulgarian fine arts between 13th and 14th centuries named after the capital and the main cultural center of the Second Bulgarian Empire, Tarnovo. Although it was influenced by some tendencies of the Palaeogan Renaissance in the Byzantine Empire, the Tarnovo painting had its own unique features which makes it a separate artistic school. It includes mural decoration of churches, easel painting icons, and illuminated manuscripts. A few remains of mosaics have been found during archaeological excavation which shows that this technique was only rarely used in the Bulgarian Empire. The works of that school have some degree of realism, individualised portraits and psychological insight.
The church of St. Euphemianos is a small medieval church, about 2 km to the southwest of the village of Lysi in the Famagusta district of Cyprus. It is a very small, single-dome, stone building and the interior is decorated with frescoes dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries.
The Ancha Icon of the Savior, known in Georgia as Anchiskhati, is a medieval Georgian encaustic icon, traditionally considered to be the Keramidion, a "holy tile" imprinted with the face of Jesus Christ miraculously transferred by contact with the Image of Edessa (Mandylion). Dated to the 6th-7th century, it was covered with a chased silver riza and partly repainted in the following centuries. The icon derives its name from the Georgian monastery of Ancha in what is now Turkey, whence it was brought to Tbilisi in 1664. The icon is now kept at the National Art Museum of Georgia in Tbilisi.
The Transfiguration of Jesus has been an important subject in Christian art, above all in the Eastern church, some of whose most striking icons show the scene.
The Church of Hosios David is a late 5th-century church in Thessaloniki, Greece. In Byzantine times, it functioned as the katholikon of the Latomos Monastery, and received a rich mosaic and fresco decoration, which was renewed in the 12th–14th centuries. The surviving examples are of high artistic quality. Under Ottoman rule, the building was converted into a mosque, until it was reconsecrated as a Greek Orthodox church in 1921, receiving its present name. In 1988, included among the Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
The Christ Pantocrator of St. Catherine’s Monastery at Sinai is one of the oldest Eastern Roman religious icons, dating from the 6th century AD. It is the earliest known version of the pantocrator style that still survives today, and is regarded by historians and scholars to be one of the most important and recognizable works in the study of Byzantine art as well as Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
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