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Mystical Supper

The Icon of the Mystical Supper stands as a direct expression of the scriptural narrative upon which it is founded. According to the Gospel for the Divine Liturgy of Holy and Great Thursday:

When it grew dark, He reclined at table with the Twelve. In the course of the meal He said, "I assure you, one of you is about to betray Me." Distressed at this, they began to say to Him one after another, "Surely it is not I, Lord?" He replied: "The man who has dipped his hand into the dish with Me is the one who will hand Me over."

(Mt. 26: 20-23)

During the meal, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to His Disciples. "Take this and eat it," He said, "this is My body." Then He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them. "All of you —drink from it," He said, "for this is My blood, the blood of the coven ant, to be poured out in behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins."

(Mt. 26: 26-28)

The Icon of the Mystical Supper portrays Christ and the Apostles seated around a table. The respective gazes and positions of the figures are important. Christ Himself meets the eyes of the Disciples that are directed toward Him. Other Disciples are bewildered about the meaning of the words of the Savior. "The Disciples looked at one another, puzzled as to whom He could mean."

(Jn. 13: 22)

Because of their very postures, the attitudes of two of the Apostles in question must be qualified:

ST. JOHN, the Beloved, to whom the crucified Christ will later entrust the care of His mother, is depicted resting his head on Christ's breast, in keeping with the reference in his own Gospel — "One of them whom Jesus loved reclined close to Him as they ate"

(Jn.13:23).

The entire commandment of love which is presented in the Gospel of John is thereby embodied:

"This is My commandment: 'Love one another as I have loved you.
There is no greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. " 

(Jn. 15: 12-13)

Judas is the betrayer. He is shown on the Icon stretching out his hands toward the bread he has been given in order to dip it into the dish, and thus he dramatizes the prophecy: "Even My friend who had My trust and partook of My bread, has raised his heel against Me." (Psalm 41: 10) The words of Christ in the Gospel are seen in Judas. With regard to the second theme of the above-mentioned narrative: (that of the institution of the Holy Eucharist), the Icon depicts the sanctified bread — the Body of Christ — as already broken and distributed to the Apostles. The cup of the sanctified wine — the Blood of Christ — is shown resting on the table, awaiting passage to them, so that in the words of the Anaphora of Saint Basil the Great, all may be united "who become par takers of the one Bread and Cup in the communion of the Holy Spirit."

The Cherubic Hymn for the Divine Liturgy of Holy and Great Thursday places us into the event that the icon makes present.

 

HYMN using in pray to Jesus Christ with Icon Mystical Supper — Let me this day, O Son of God, be a partaker of Your Mystical Supper, for I will not reveal Your Mystery to Your enemies, nor will I betray You with a kiss as did Judas, but like the repentant thief I openly profess You: Remember me, O Lord, in Your kingdom.