EXIT, STAGE LEFT

Today we will look briefly at a very uncommon icon type.  It is related to those icons we have seen in previous postings, representing the Guardian Angel and a person at death; but this particular type is based upon a collection of prayers:

(Russian State Museum)

As you can see, it consists of lots of little scenes, each with a bit of text beneath it.

The title inscription should tell us what this is all about:


It is a bit fuzzy, but we can nonetheless read it.  It says:

Изображение Канyна На Исход Души
IZOBRAZHENIE KANUNA NA ISKHOD DUSHI

Though the writer has spelled Kanona as Kanuna, we nonetheless know what he meant, so we can easily translate the title as:

“REPRESENTATION OF THE CANON AT THE DEPARTURE OF THE SOUL”

So we know this icon represents a particular liturgical collection of funereal prayers relating to the departure of the soul from the body at death and its journey in the afterlife, as believed in Eastern Orthodox tradition.

This appears to be an Old Believer icon from the 19th century.  It is not a type you are likely to encounter, but if you do, you will be able to recognize it now.

 

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