On the front side Jesus Christ is depicted. The crucifix, symbolizing the victory over sin and death, is most often located on the body crosses. Jesus Christ, having died and gone to hell, thereby redeemed the sins of the human race. In hell, he defeated Satan, freed the souls of the righteous, and opened the Heavenly gates to heaven for them later. Only through Christ the man’s soul can be saved. The Orthodox tradition of depicting Christ not suffering, but as if embracing the whole world and ascending, refers us to this sacrifice, the victory of Good.
The Virgin Mary and John the Evangelist
On both sides of Jesus, you can see the two saints who stood on Calvary until the very end, until Christ gave his spirit to God:
- The Most Holy Mother of God the Virgin Mary;
- John the Evangelist.
There is the Jerusalem Wall in the background, which symbolizes the fact that through the sacrifice you can get to the Heavenly Jerusalem — after all, it was Jesus who opened the way to it for humanity through Calvary.
St. Nicholas The Wonderworker
There is an icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, who was especially venerated in Russia on the back of the cross. The saint was a bishop in the capital of Lycia, Mira, in Asia Minor. It is believed that even after death, he continues to do great works of mercy, you can turn to him for help in difficult moments. He is the patron saint of the needy, the wronged and the persecuted, the distressed, the traveling, the sailors, the merchants, the sick, and the innocently convicted ones. Nicholas the Wonderworker cannot refuse to help someone who turns to him with a sincere kind request. It is believed that he can even resurrect the dead.
In the upper part of the icon you can find the Most Holy Mother of God and Jesus Christ, holding in their hands the signs of episcopal dignity (omophorion), and so blessing the saint. This image is often found on icons dedicated to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker — it serves as a reminder that he received the omophorion from the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.
Moscow Blessed Ones
On the left side of the saint there are two saints:
- Basil the Blessed;
- John Kolpak.
Both Moscow saints have become famous throughout Russia for their miracles.
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker is surrounded by other Moscow blessed ones on the right side:
- Daniel of Moscow;
- Savva Storozhevsky.
Both of them in the XIV century became famous for opening the great Russian monasteries — St. Danilov in Moscow and Savvino-Storozhevsky in Zvenigorod.