I love this icon. There is a writing of it in the Orthodox study bible that I love even more than this rendering but the basic idea is the same. Honestly, I've never understood the crucifixion quite as well as I'm beginning to grasp it from the EO perspective. I love how this icon makes Jesus almost look like a Super Hero. In the rendering in the study bible, Jesus' robe is bit more fluid and his legs more sprawling over the chasm of hell - give him a cape and he looks like he could just fly off to anywhere he wants. Also in that rendering, Satan is deeper down in the pit and bound quite tightly - not so mobile as this depiction. That makes me think of the final scene of every episode of Scooby Doo I've ever seen which has the villain sprawled on the ground tied and gagged by the gang of do-gooders. Then they pull off the mask and say "Aha! We knew it was you all along!" This icon makes me think of that moment. Jesus has just pulled the mask off of Satan and is announcing, "See! He's the bad guy! I've saved you from him!" He's surrounded by his supporting cast of Old Testament heroes and saints who are now free to dwell in the Heavenly Kingdom with him. He has Adam and Eve by the wrists, pulling them out once and for all from the Chasm of Sin.
I've spent years trying to relate to the Stations of the Cross. I just can't glean a whole lot of anything out of that in spite of a lot of years of trying. But a few moments spent meditating on this icon and I get it...Jesus is my Super Hero. He's rescued me from the pit. His powers are above all else. Yes, in this life there is suffering and tribulation but just this once I want to try to think more like a swooning and helpless Lois Lane flying along in the rescuing hands of a caped hero....
1 day ago