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A Throne of the Cherubim

Μυστήριον ξένον, ὁρῶ καὶ παράδοξον· οὐρανὸν τὸ Σπήλαιον· θρόνον Χερουβικὸν, τὴν Παρθένον· τὴν φάτνην χωρίον· ἐν ᾧ ἀνεκλίθη ὁ ἀχώρητος, Χριστὸς ὁ Θεός· ὃν ἀνυμνοῦντες μεγαλύνομεν.

A strange and wondrous mystery do I behold: the Cave is a heaven, the Virgin a throne of the Cherubim, the manger a place wherein is contained the Uncontainable, Christ God, whom do we magnify in hymns.

(Heirmos of the Ninth Ode of the Canon for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, by Saint John Damascene)

A Sinai ripidion depicts the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child in the centre, surrounded by four medallions depicting the six winged Seraphim (Isaiah 6:2), and another four depicting the four Living Creatures that accompany the throne of God (Ezekiel 1:26). It seems especially appropriate at the Nativity of Christ, when we praise the Virgin Mary as a throne of the Cherubim.

3 comments to A Throne of the Cherubim

  • Maria

    By the way dear Father Justin, do you have an icon from the Virgin Mary of Saint John Damascene?
    I was much thinking of it…
    Thank you once again for the photographs, it is so interesting

  • Anna

    It is beautiful, and when I magnify the photo by clicking on it, all the intricate detail becomes crystal clear, even the tiny blossoms embossed (if that’s the correct word) on the silver background.

  • Paul

    Thank you for this beautiful picture. It is my opinion that the four living creatures depicted on this ripidion have a secondary purpose: to signify the Four Gospels. Matthew-a winged man, Mark-a winged lion, Luke-a winged bull and John-an eagle. Blessings to you.

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