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Christ the Teacher

The Christ Pantocrator is a model for other representations of Christ. The Icon of Christ the Teacher is a variation of the Pantocrator. It is a repre sentation of the Incarnate Son of God, often marked by extreme simplicity. The focal point of the panel, upon which our gaze comes to rest, is the very face of Christ, framed by long hair which, parted in the center, falls grace fully to the left shoulder.

The regular features of the face are rendered schematically. The horizontal line of the mouth betrays nothing of the carnal. The elongated and very straight nose, with arched eyebrows, forms a pattern. The image is grave and solemn. It is full of love, care, and concern. It invites us to look into the eyes of divine love. In the face of Christ we see the love of God. Excluding sin, He is open to all the sorrows of the fallen world. The large dilated eyes turn toward the viewer with an attentive look, penetrating the very depths of our consciousness while, at the same time, overwhelming us. Christ is in our midst. Again, as in all icons of Christ, the nimbus sur rounding the head bears a cross-form containing the Greek letters 0 WH expressing "I am Who am" — the name of God — (Ex. 3: 14). Outside the nimbus are the Greek letters IC XC, an abbreviation for the name of Jesus Christ.

Christ is painted in a tunic over which is draped a cloak. With His right hand raised in blessing, His fingers form the letters IC XC. His left hand is shown supporting the Gospel Book which, when open, is appropriately inscribed according to the specific liturgical or prayerful purpose for which the icon is intended. This icon is placed to the right of the Royal Doors on the Icon Screen. It is Christ Himself Who leads us in worship of the Father, and through Whom we enter the mystery of divine life.

TROPAR — We bow before Your sacred image, O Gracious Lord, and beg forgiveness for our offenses, O Christ our God; for You, of Your own will, deigned to ascend the cross in Your human nature to deliver those whom You have created from the bondage of the enemy. Therefore, we gratefully cry out to You: "By Your coming to save the world, O Savior, You have filled all with joy."