The icon of Saints Peter and Paul, Founders of…
The icon of Saints Peter and Paul, Founders of the Antiochian See.
In this beautiful icon, we see the Apostles Peter and Paul embracing each other.
It is a bust icon, with Peter to the right and Paul to the left.
Peter's right hand embraces Paul, who’s left hand hugs Peter.
Peter's left fingers appear on Paul's shoulder, and Paul's right fingers are on Peter's.
It is the embrace of Christ in love.
The two halos behind their heads are decorated with figures that resemble roses and extending branches, similar to those found in the vine, for example.
The names of the two apostles are written on the background of the icon in dark red.
Their cheeks touch, but their eyes do not meet because they stare at the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the center of their lives.
This icon is a call for us to imitate Peter and Paul. Each of them teaches us a lot.
Peter was very excited; he was the first to admit that Jesus is the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16: 16).
Although he denied the Lord three times, he wept bitterly. The Lord accepted his repentance and restored his apostleship (John 15: 21-17).
Paul was Saul who abused Christians and witnessed the stoning of the deacon Stephen.
The Lord appeared to him and spoke to him on his way to Damascus, as he went to arrest and kill the Christians there. He fell from his horse and lost his sight. Then his eyes were opened again in “the Straight street”, in Damascus.
There, he received baptism at the hands of Ananias, and set out to preach to the Gentiles the risen Jesus.
This icon dates back to the early 15th century AD and is kept in a museum in Oxford, England (The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology).
There is a poster on the back of the icon explaining that it has become the property of this museum through an auction in England after it arrived from a monastery in Crete. It is noteworthy that Crete belonged to the Republic of Venice at that time.
The icon is 46.4 cm long and the 37 cm wide. It is from the style of the famous Cretan iconographer Angelos Akotantos (+1450 AD) who lived in Heraklion (formerly Candia), the capital of Crete, and has such beautiful icons that spread in several churches and monasteries across Crete, Patmos, Rhodes, and other places. He is said to be the first to start signing icons in his name. He has about fifty icons.
Note: The icon of the Apostles Peter and Paul’s embrace probably appeared for the first time with this Cretan iconographer.
This iconographer wrote four other icons, but they are circular. They are distributed as follows:
- The first in the Krimbas collection in Athens.
- The second is found in the monastery of St. John the Evangelist Theologian in Patmos.
- The third in the Monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai.
- The Fourth in Topla in Bosnia and Herzegovina
O Lord, through the intercession of the Saints Peter and Paul, have mercy on us and save us, Amen.