An orthodox plot Deisis is on the front side of a body icon. God is depicted as the Almighty - Lord of the heavenly and earthly worlds. Holy Mother of God and the New Testament prophet John the Baptist, who are the closest saints to the Divine Throne, are located near Lord. Their gestures show the request; they pray to God to forgive a human. Jesus is holding the Book of Life, also called the Book of Destinies, with his left hand. Traditionally, it is a symbol of the New Testament – a sacred agreement between people and God, concluded in ancient times. Thus an intermediary prayer or supplication for intercession for people before God is displayed on the orthodox iconography.
The icon contains the words of prayer:
“Jesus Christ, for the honest Your Mother and Forerunner and Baptist, have mercy on me.”
The backside of the icon is decorated with a symbolic pattern: branches with birds on them. It is an allegoric representation of the Garden of Eden with human souls. This symbolism has a centuries-old history and originated at the beginning of Christianity, in the first centenaries. Since then this plant motif has become one of the most used in iconography.
What does the image tell a believer?
The plot has a profoundly religious point. The images of those who pray to the Mother of God and the Baptist of the Lord are shown not without reason. The depiction is for reminding that God will judge people according to the Covenant at the Last Judgment, and the world will never be the same after that:
- At the end of time, the Mother of God and John the Baptist will be the first ones protecting people at the Judgment. These deeply cherished saints always help a man in earthly existence and give him protection. The believers mostly appeal to them on a spiritual quest.
- The Commandment of love is the main law of the New Testament. It says: “Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another”. John the Apostle has given instructions about the Commandment to those who followed him in these words: “If only it could be fulfilled, it would be enough”.
- The believer wears an icon “Deisis” with or without a cross as a symbol that the Mother of God and The Baptist of the Lord are always there for better or worse, they can help and support. They will pray for him before Him.
The Revelation says that only those, whose names are in the Book of Life, can go to the New World. There is no place for everything unclean, deceitful and ugly.
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