Blue for human, red for divine

Icon of Theophaneia – that is literally translated as the appearance of God – a multi-person, multi meaning religious theme – The symbolism of the icon -the simultaneous apparition of the Holy Triad- , the dual nature of the Incarnate God- is obvious here, even in the colours used (red for divine, blue for human) .

An icon that bears the promise of the new beginning:  the blessings of the waters, where all nature is purified and ready to start anew- Amidst the Jordan river our Lord;submerging in it as a prelude to his ministry passion and death- rising from water as a promise of his Resurrection.

The promise of the passion is also present: The axe beside the Baptist, talking about his death, the chiton (hypokamison) that the angel holds bearing the colour of humanity (blue) and crosses on.

theophaneia epiphany the baptism of the lord 20-01-18 13-09-010
The baptism of our Lord, egg-tempera on plywood 28×36 cm

Land of Holy- St John’s rock

A piece of rock, from my island Crete- a land of Saints and hermits- This rock  with the reddish color of soil was hiding the face of a Saint- St John the Forerunner with his characteristic messy hair and beard.

St John the Baptist

I love my land- A land of living history, where you can still find Holy men, hidden in its very rocks.

I added egg white on top to fix the red color of the soil. It was the same soil that made the base for “flesh” of the Baptist. Afterwards I ve   used variations of brown egg tempera to create the shadows on the face- ochre cinnabar and white, even plain white, for the highlights.

I finally added acrylics for the gold and a generous double layer of shellac to perfectly seal the colors.

St. John Rigologos- an Ai Yiannis that brings you the chills…

The last big feast of the Greek Church year comes on August 29th. It is the feast of  “Ai Yiannis o Rigologos” that can be loosely translated as St John that brings tremors or maybe the chills.

The day of the Beheading of the Saint, where a strict fast is observed; People do not eat anything related to blood (no black red grapes and red figs  of the season), anything touched by a knife (bread is cut by hands ) – otherwise they will disrespect the name of the the Saint , and have tremors instead (an orthodox Greek nemesis).

Strangely this was connected with outbreaks of malaria fever and the Saint was believed to assist and relief people from this disease.

St Jonh the baptist
Holy byzantine icon of Saint John, egg tempera on wood 7″ x 5″ (18cm x 13cm)

There is a very old custom in a village in South Crete (a beautiful place named Viannos) – The person that is sick should visit the church of the Saint, pray on the Saint’s icon, light the candles, fragrance the whole place with censer and then tie a thread (from his clothes or his handkerchief) on the church candles and pray:

Here I lay to you, Ai Yanni, my fever
Here I lay to you, Ai Yanni, my tremor
Here I lay to you, Ai Yanni , my anorexia and my disease
He /she will then “round’ the church three times with the tread, repeating these words, and then the skinny Saint, the “Angel on earth” will listen to his/hers prayers and give his/her health back again