COMMON NAMES FOR SAVIOR ICONS

Some icon types have commonly-used names that are nonetheless generally not written on the icon as a title.  There are several types of Jesus that fit into this category.

Here is one example, the “Wet Beard Savior” (Спас Мокрая Брада — Spas Mokraya Brada/Boroda):

The distinguishing feature of this type is that the beard looks wet, with the tip of the beard often (though not always) bending to the right.  The tip may be single or slightly forked.  This image of Jesus with the wet beard goes back to the legend that Jesus once pressed a cloth to his wet face, and his image was miraculously transferred to the cloth, thus creating the supposed first Christian icon.  This tale is generally referred to as the Abgar Legend  For more on this, see the earlier posting:
https://russianicons.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/the-real-origin-of-the-eastern-orthodox-icon/

The “Wet Beard Savior” may appear as just the head of Jesus, or as the head superimposed on a cloth, in which case it may have the “Not Made by Hands” inscription, as in the following example:

The inscription at the base reads (it is abbreviated on the icon)

НЕРУКОТВОРЕННЫ ОБРАЗ ГОСПОДА НАШЕГО ИСУСА ХРИСТА
Nerukotvorennui Obraz Gospoda Nashego Isusa Khrista
Not-hand-made Image {of} Lord of-Us Jesus Christ
The “Not Made by Hands Image” of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Here is another version:

(Courtesy of the Museum of Russian Icons, Clinton, MA.)

Another type in which the common name is generally not written on the image (though there are exceptions) is the “Angry Eye Savior” (Спас Ярое ОкоSpas Yaroe Oko ).  The identifying characteristic of this type is that Jesus looks distinctly angry or severe, as in this example:

The third type we will look at today is a “Lord Almighty” icon commonly known as the “Golden Hair Savior” (СПАС ЗЛАТЫЕ ВЛАСЫ — Spas Zlatuie Vlasui).  Icons of this type are likely to be modern, and they are based on a particular old and damaged icon that was kept in the Dormition Cathedral of the Kremlin in Moscow.  In this icon, the hair of Jesus is rendered in gold, rather than the usual dark color.  Here it is:

As you know, the use of gold in icons indicated heavenly light, or as the Hesychasts called it, the “Uncreated Light.”  This old icon has a damaged inscription taken from John 8:12:

Аз есмь свет миру: ходяй по мне не имать ходити во тме, но имать свет животный.
“I am the Light of the World.  Who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Copies may add the inscription:

Дондеже свет имате, веруйте во свет, да сынове Света будете
“While you have the light, believe in the light; [that you may become sons of the light].”

 

 

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