THE CROSS IN RED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Cross has held a very significant place in the life and worship of Christians from the earliest of times. Images of Christ on the Cross date back from the 2nd century and perhaps even earlier. Christ's body is flexed toward His right, His head is bowed and His eyes are closed in death. His pose reflects the voluntary nature of Christ's sacrifice. "No one takes (my life) from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John 10:18). Jesus' face is turned toward His mother, preserving an expression that is grave and majestic. "The Life is fallen asleep and hell shudders in terror" (from the Orthodox liturgy for Holy Saturday). This icon shows blood streaming from Christ's hands, feet, and from His side.

Christ is surrounded by symbolic representations of the many people who witnessed the Crucifixion. On His right is Mary the Mother of God, head surmounted by a halo, and on His left is John the Evangelist (the "beloved disciple"), again with a halo. When Jesus saw His mother and disciple whom He loved, He said to His mother, "Woman, this is your son." Then He said to His disciple, "There is your mother." Above the Cross is a White Dove with a halo, which, in Christianity, is a manifestation or representation of the Holy Spirit.

The icon by the hand of Janusz Charczuk. Egg tempera on wood, priming on textile, background 23 K gold leaf. 56 x 44 cm (22 x 17.25 in )