Thursday, June 21, 2012


This is the second image in the series. It's the Annunciation to the Virgin of the Divine plan. Gabriel's right hand shows only three fingers because it forms the name of Jesus Christ in the manner of the Orthodox priestly blessing. His fingers form the name for he is both pronouncing it and conveying the blessing but it is hidden because as yet the Virgin is the first human to hear it. His left hand holds the staff os his office as a messenger and servant of the Most High. 'Full of grace' he calls her. She who is sinless and devoid of any evil, is also full of merit and virtue. She is as humanity was meant to be and she through her 'yes' opens the way for what humanity will become. The little spool of thread in her hand is a reference both to the garment without seam that she will weave for her son but also to her weaving a body for him from her own flesh.

From the very top of the icon the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove with rays of light flashing forth. He descends at the Virgins and as once He hovered over the waters at the creation of the Earth so He comes to dwell in her who is to be the Mother of God. The Virgin, in traditional inner blue and out purple, stands to receive God's message. The blue denotes her sanctified human nature while the purple refers to the Divine glory that overshadows her. He 'yes' makes our 'yes' possible. Her heart will be pierced by a sword of sorrow because it is utterly open to the will of God. Through her sorrow and that of her Son our joy will be eternal. In this moment the road to Calvary and the empty tomb, the way to heaven and into the very heart of God is opened.

One small note: the lights on Gabriel's robe are sometimes called 'lyric lights' as if the very poetry of his being were shining through his clothes.

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