0412 Three Hierachs

0412 Three Hierachs


18th cent. 31×23,5×2.5 cms.

This icon has three of the most influenced on the liturgy and organisation of the early Orthodox Church.
St Gregory the Theologian [329-389] [Gregory of Nazianus].in the centre, a man of letters, an accomplished orator and poet and a strong defender of Church doctrine against heresies. He was a major contributor to the development of the concept of The Trinity.
Basil the Great [329-379] Shown to the right of his friend St. Gregory. With his gaunt physique, thick black hair, long straight pointed  beard and piercing eyes, it is no surprise that he was instrumental in developing the principles of a strict, ascetic monastic life. Like his friend he spoke fervently against perceived heresies.
St Johm Chrysostom [309-407] He was one of the greatest preachers of the early Church. An eloquent speaker, he persuasively explained complex church doctrines.in a popularist manner that won widespread support and the sobriquet “Golden Mouth”.

Since purchase from the U.S.A the damaged gesso around the heads has been stabilised cleaned and paint restored to parts of the episcopal robes. The asymmetrical position of the Saints’ eyes s not an error but an established iconographic device that can be seen in a 7th cent. icon of Christ in St Catherine’s monastery in Sinai. It shows the dual nature of the Church: one eye to judge, one eye to be forgiving.

On the reverse, in Cyrillic script in thick pencil there is a legend with the date 1769. The date cannot be authenticated but it is believed the icon was written around 1800.