The Deisis: Christ Pantocrator

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reference number: RI_178

19th century

tempera on wooden panel

36 x 30 cm

The icon is the central piece of the Deisis, which in its abbreviated form unites three most important figures of the Christian hierarchy. It shows Christ, of the Pantocrator type, depicted frontally, waist-length, clad in a green himation and a red chiton, with his left hand holding an open book of Gospels and right hand raised in benediction. The text on the book is the most commons and reads: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek” (Matthew 11:28-29). The outer border is painted with two family saints: St. Archangel Michael on the left and St. Simeon on the right.


The subject of the Deësis or Deisis owes its title to the Greek word δέησις, meaning “supplication”, which is the purpose of the presence of the Virgin and the Baptist on either side of Christ. The iconography originated in Byzantine art as a representation of the Intercession prayer, in which the names of Christ, the Virgin, and John the Baptist are commemorated.

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