Today we will look at two different inscriptions often found as the text of the Gospel book held by Jesus in icons of the “Lord Almighty” (Gospod’ Vsederzhitel’) type. I like to call them the “two Priidites,” because both usually begin with the Church Slavic word ПРИИДИТЕ/PRIIDITE, meaning “Come.”
Here is an icon with the first and most common of the two:
The Gospel text (Matthew 11:28-30) reads:
Priidite ko mnye vxi truzhdaiushchiisya i obremenennii, i az oupokoiu vui:
vozmite igo moe na sebe i nauchitesya ot mene, iako krotok esm i
smiren serdtsem: i obryashchete pokoy dusham vashuim:
igo bo moe blago, i bremya moe legko est.
“Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls; for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
The inscription in the icon above stops with “na sebe/upon you.” I have included the rest, as some icons do.
Here is the second “Priidite” inscription:
It is Matthew 25:34-36:
The inscription usually begins with the seventh word, as shown in the icon:
[Togda rechet tsar sushchuim odesnuiu ego:] Priidite, blagoslovennii Otsa moego,
nasleduite ougotovannoe vam tsarstvie ot slozheniya mira:
vzalkakhsya bo, i daste mi iasti: vozzhadakhsya, i napoiste mya: stranene
byekh, i vvedoste mene:
nag, i odyeyaste mya: bolen, i posyetiste mene: v temnitsye byekh, i
priidoste ko mnye.
“[Then shall the king say to those on his right:] Come, you blessed of my Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in.
Naked, and you clothed me; sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me.”
Just knowing the two “Priidite” inscriptions will enable you to read the Gospel texts on huge numbers of icons of Jesus. Of course there are other texts than the “Priidites” also found, but we can discuss more of those another day.
By the way, did you notice that on the second icon, the abbreviation for Jesus Christ (written in Greek, though it is a Russian icon) uses the later Greek form of “S” (sigma) in IΣ ΧΣ, instead of the earlier form IC ΧC?
Also, did you notice the abbreviations used in the Bible texts given in Church Slavic letters above? I filled in the missing letters in the transcriptions.