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Christ Pantocrator is a very popular icon motif in Christianity, particularly among the Orthodox.
The most important Christian icon is Christ Pantocrator. This image portrays Jesus as the world’s sovereign ruler. Christ Pantocrator was one of the oldest images of Jesus and appears in the most prominent positions in cave churches.
In Christian iconography, Christ Pantocrator (Greek: Χριστὸς Παντοκράτωρ) is a specific depiction of Christ. Pantocrator or Pantokrator, literally ruler of all, but usually translated as “Almighty” or “all-powerful”, is derived from one of many names of God in Judaism.
The Pantokrator, largely an Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholic theological conception and is less common under that name in Western Roman Catholicism.
The icon of Christ Pantokrator is one of the most common religious images of Orthodox Christianity.
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.
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 usually has a gold ground comparable to the gilded grounds of Byzantine mosaics.
Christ Pantocrator is one of the oldest motifs, dating back to the 6th century.
This is the oldest known painting of Jesus of Nazareth. It was once dated to the 1200’s, but after it was cleaned in 1962 and the original encaustic layer exposed, it was re-dated to the 500‘s under the reign of Emperor Justinian (527-565). Justinian had founded St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai, Egypt and it was under his reign that this type of religious iconography was first created.
The Christ Pantocrator of St. Catherine’s Monastery at Sinai is one of the oldest Byzantine religious icons, dating from the 6th century AD.
It is the earliest known depiction of Jesus Christ as Pantocrator (literally ruler of all) that survives. It 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 and Eastern Catholic Christianity.
Most likely the only reason we have the image in St. Catherine’s monastery is the remote location allowed it to escape the iconoclasms.
We owe the preservation of this Pantocrator Christ icon to the remoteness of the monastery where it resided. It was far away enough to survive the iconoclastic controversies that pervaded the Eastern Church for over 100 years, starting in the 8th century.
it is one of the few preiconoclast icons to survive. It was probably made in Constantinople, and sent as a gift to Mt. Sinai.
Prior to the 6th century, depictions of Jesus varied. Around this time, images standardized on this depiction of Jesus. Even up to this day, portraits of Jesus look like Christ Pantocrator.
Christians began to visually depict Jesus in the late 300’s, once there was no longer a threat of persecution. These early images present Jesus as a stoic figure sitting on a throne with a scroll. In the 600’s, Christ Pantocrator emerged as a simplification of that early image. The look of Christ Pantocrator has hardly changed in the last 1,500 years.
There is another famous mosaic of the Pantocrator in the Hagia Sophia, once a church, then a mosque and now a museum, in Istanbul, Turkey. The mosaic was done in the 1260’s and the resemblance to the 500’s Pantocrator is uncanny, leading some to believe that the artist had seen or had access to the St. Catherine painting done 700 years previously.
The TS explains many questions about the Christ Pantocrator motif:
– Why would the image be called “pantocrator”, which means “ruler of all”? There is no depiction of anything typically associated with a ruler in the image like a crown or scepter.
– Why did art standardize on this rendition of Christ?
– How has the rendition remained relatively stable over a thousand years?
– Why all the particular features of the head? Long hair, large eyes, looking straight ahead, long nose, beard, hair falling over left shoulder, etc.
– Why is the face asymmetrical?
Analysis from Whangers claim 170 points of congruence between the TS and the St. Catherine’s Monastery image.
A good example of this new “true likeness” is St. Catherine’s Monastery’s famous 6th century encaustic (painting on wax) Christ Pantocrator. The Pantocrator, “Christ Enthroned” and sitting in majesty as ruler of the world, was an important artistic type and preferred means for depicting him at this time. Shroud researchers Dr. Alan Whanger and wife Mary developed a photo comparison technique for overlaying one picture on another and then counting the actual “points of congruence” (PC’s) between the two (see Applied Optics, 15 March 1985: 766 – 772). Applying an overlay of the Shroud face onto the St. Catherine’s Pantocrator the Whangers counted 170 PC’s, and when they expanded the search to areas around the faces of both, over 250 PC’s
More Christ Pantocrator images:
https://fineartamerica.com/art/painting … antocrator