Orthodox churches abound in the faces of saints who are able to render their divine help to people in a quandary and in the presence of serious illnesses. Each icon is characterized by some kind of its own special action, which makes it possible to improve a person’s life in a certain sphere. In this article I would like to suggest you to understand the meaning of the icon of the Savior, not made by hands, as well as in what situations you can pray to her for mercy.
Overview of the icon of the Savior
The image of the Savior not made by hands is one of the original images that captured the face of the Lord. The image is very significant among the adherents of the Christian religion, it is often put forward in one place with a cross and a crucifix.
If you are an Orthodox person and want to find out the real characteristics of this icon, as well as from what troubles you can protect yourself with its help - by all means read on.
As originally appeared the Image of Jesus Christ
We can find out how the Savior looked like by a large number of various church traditions and legends, but the Bible does not mention with a single word about the appearance of Jesus. How, then, could the image of the face we are talking about now appear?
The history of the creation of the image of the “Savior the Unmanifested” with all the details was preserved and transmitted by the Roman historian Eusebius (students of Pamphilus living in Palestine). It should be noted that Eusebius made a very large contribution to history - many of the information from the time of Jesus survived to this day precisely because of his efforts.
But how did the Savior appear after all? They knew about the fame of the Savior far from his place of residence, often residents of other cities and even countries visited him. Once, the king of the city of Edessa (now modern Turkey) sent a herald to him with a message. The letter said that Avgar was exhausted by old age and severe illness of his legs. Jesus made a promise to send some of his disciples to help the ruler and bring enlightenment to his people with the help of the light of the Holy Gospel. The following incident was recorded and transmitted by Efrem Sirin.
Apart from the messenger, Avgar also sent a painter to Jesus, but the divine shine blinded him so much that he was unable to paint a portrait of Christ. Then the Savior decided to present Avgar with a kind of a present — a canvas (Ubrus) with which he wiped his face.
The canvas has retained the imprint of the divine face - that is why it was given the name of not made by hands, that is, one that was created not by human hands, but by divine power (similar to the Shroud of Turin). This was the first image that appeared during the life of Jesus. And when the fabric was brought by ambassadors to Edessa, it immediately turned into a local shrine.
When Jesus was crucified on the cross, Apostle Thaddeus, who heals Abgar and performs other miracles, and actively converts the local population to become Christians, goes to Edessa. We learn about these amazing events from another historian, Procopius of Caesarea. And in the records Evagriya (Antioch) tells about the miraculous rescue of citizens from the ambush of enemies.
Appearance of the icon of the Savior not made by hands
Historical documents have preserved to our days the description of the divine image, which was kept by King Avgarem. Cloth pulled on the basis of the tree. Surprisingly, the Savior of the Hands is the only image that depicts Jesus as a human being, emphasizing his human nature.
And in all the other images, the Savior is depicted already with elements of church paraphernalia or performs certain actions. And in the image of the Savior, one can see the face of Jesus, and he is not the “vision” of the author, but a real image of the Lord.
Most often we meet the image of the Savior in the Ubrus - the image of the Savior, depicted on the background of a towel with folds. Most of the boards are white. In some cases, the face is depicted on the background of the laying of bricks. And in a number of traditions, angelic beings floating in the air hold the towel at the edges.
The image is unique for its mirror symmetry, into which only the eyes of the Savior do not fit - they are slightly distorted, which adds to the facial expressions of Jesus more soulfulness.
The List of the Savior on the Hand of God, which is located in the city of Novgorod, is a model of the ancient embodiment of ideal beauty. In addition to perfect symmetry, great importance is attached to the complete absence of emotions - the sublime purity, peace of mind of the Savior, who seem to charge everyone who looks to his icon.
What does the image mean in Christianity
It is difficult to overestimate what it means to the face of the Merciful Savior - after all, its amazing appearance in itself represents a rather significant argument at the time of the struggle with icons. In fact, it is the image that is the main confirmation that the face of the Savior can be depicted and used as a shrine and pray to him for his requests.
The imprint that remains on the canvas represents the main type of iconography, reminiscent of the divine beginning of icon painting. This skill initially also possessed a descriptive function - the stories from the Bible began to revive in the eyes of the first Christian believers. In addition, before there were practically no books, even the famous Holy Scriptures, which were a great rarity for a long time. Therefore, it is quite logical that the believers really wanted to have a visible incarnation of the Savior.
The same fact that the icon depicts only the face of Jesus is intended to remind Christians that they can be saved only if they establish a personal relationship with Christ. And if this does not happen - none of the church rituals can not miss the believer in the kingdom of heaven.
In the image, Jesus is clearly looking at the audience - as if he calls on everyone who turns his gaze on him to follow Him. The process of contemplating the image of the Savior of the Hands of God makes it possible to realize the true meaning of life in Christianity.
What does the icon of "the Savior of the Hands" mean?
The amazing image of the Savior differs in certain characteristics:
- it is the icon described that represents an indispensable element of the icon painters training program and their first independent icon;
- this is one of the faces of Jesus, on which there is a closed halo. Nimbus is the personification of harmony and completeness of the universe;
- The image is symmetrical. Only Jesus' eyes mow a little to the side to show a more vivid picture. Symmetry on the image is intended to remind about symmetry in everything that was created by the Lord;
- the face of Jesus on the icon does not express the emotions of suffering or pain. On the contrary, it evokes associations with calmness, balance and purity, as well as freedom from any emotional experience. Often the face is associated with the concept of "pure beauty";
- The icon shows only a portrait of the Savior, one of his head, even missing shoulders. This feature can be interpreted from different positions, in particular, the head once again focuses on the primacy of the spiritual over the physical, plus acts as a kind of reminder about the importance of the Son of God in church life.
It is noteworthy that the icon described is the only image of only the face of Jesus. On all other holy Faces, you can find the Savior moving or standing to his full height.
What kind of requests you can apply to the "Savior, not made by hands"?
The icon can help a person in a number of troubles, namely:
- if a person solves a difficult life problem, is in a difficult situation, from which it is difficult to find a way out - it is worth asking for help from the icon of the “Holy Savior”;
- if faith is lost, the face of the Savior will also help;
- if there are various severe pathologies - you should also turn to the face;
- in the presence of evil, sinful thoughts, having prayed at this icon, you can quickly get rid of the latter;
- praying at an image is really to receive mercy and condescension from the Savior, both for himself and for his inner circle;
- if you suffer from apathy, lack of physical energy - this trouble also allows you to solve the face of the Savior.
Before you start asking about the help of Christ from his icon - repent and read the text of the prayer "Our Father".
In conclusion, I suggest that you also view an informative video about the icon "The Merciful Savior":