The Eighteen Great Feasts

Shown above are three of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Russian Orthodox Church. First, an icon of the Pentecost (a movable feast) is rendered as the apostles are gathered in a semi-circle around the vacant tomb of Christ. The gold background behind the apostles (the light of salvation) contrasts greatly with the dark chasm from which a king emerges holding twelve scrolls. He symbolizes the state of captivity and limbo the universe is in as they wait for the return of Christ. In the center, an icon of The Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14.) is shown. The Bishop of Jerusalem presents the Holy Cross in front of the Church of the Resurrection to the faithful. Placed on Golgotha, the cross is raised on a spot the Tradition sees symbolizing the center of the world. At the right we observe an icon of The Descent into Hell of the Resurrection (a movable feast). This feast gives meaning to the death of Christ as He has returned to rule both Heaven and Earth. He is surrounded by the faithful.

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