In an earlier posting, I briefly mentioned the cast metal four-part folding icons commonly called “irons,” because their shape when closed is similar to that of an old metal flatiron — the kind one had to heat on a stove to use. You will find that earlier posting here:
Today we shall look a bit more closely at this very popular form of Old Believer metal icon, which may be found both with (as here) and without added colored enamel.
Here is an example:
It includes icon types of major Church festivals, as well as the commemoration of four “wonderworking” icons of Mary.
If we look more closely, we can identify the scenes in each of the four panels:
The top image is the Crucifixion (Raspyatie), with a tiny image of the “Not Made by Hands” image of Jesus just above the cross. Inscription: Raspyatie Gospoda Nashego Isusa Khrista
“Crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ”
The upper left image is the Annunciation (Blagovyeshchenie) to Mary. Inscription:
Blagovyeshchenie Presvyatuiya Bogoroditsui
“Annunciation to the most holy Mother of God
The upper right image is the Birth (Rozhestvo) of Jesus. Inscription: Rozhesto Gospoda Nashego Isusa Khrista
“Birth of our Savior Jesus Christ”
The lower left image is the Birth (Rozhestvo) of the Mother of God (Mary). Inscription: Rozhestvo Presvyatuiya Bogoroditsui
“Birth of the most holy Mother of God”
The lower right image is the Entry (Vvedenie) of the Mother of God into the Temple. Inscription: Vvdenie v Tserkov Presvyatuiya Bogoroditsui
“Entry into the Temple of the most holy Mother of God.”
At top is the New Testament Trinity, with the inscription: I Vozshedshago Na Nebesa I Sedyashcha Odesnuiu Otsa
“He Ascended into Heaven and Sits at the Right Hand of the Father.”
Left: The Meeting (Sretenie) of Jesus in the Temple. Inscription: Sretenie Gospoda Nashego Isusa Khrista
“Meeting of our Lord Jesus Christ [in the Temple]”
Right: The Theophany (Bogoyavlenie), that is, the Baptism of Jesus: Inscription: Bogoyavlenie Gospoda Nashego Isusa Khrista
“Theophany of our Lord Jesus Christ”
Lower Left: The Transfiguration (Preobrazhenie) of Jesus. Inscription: Preobrazhenie Gospoda Nashego Isusa Khrista
“Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ”
Lower Right: The Entry (Vkhod) of Jesus into Jerusalem. Inscription: Vkhod v Ierusalim Gospoda Nashego Isusa Khrista
“Entry into Jerusalem of our Lord Jesus Christ”
Top: The Elevation (Vozdvizhenie) of the Cross. Inscription: Vozdvizhenie Chestnago I Zhivotvoryashchago Kresta Gospoda Nashego Isusa Khrista
“Elevation of the Honorable and Life-creating Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”
Left: The Descent (Sozhestvie) to Hades (Resurrection (Voskresenie) of Jesus). Inscription: Voskresenie Khristovo
“Resurrection of Christ”
Right: The Ascension (Voznesenie) of Jesus. Inscription: Voznesenie Gospodne
“Ascension of the Lord”
Lower Left: The Old Testament Trinity (Troitsa). Inscription: Svyataya Troitsa
“Holy Trinity.” In some examples this is replaced by the Descent (Sozhestvie) of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost), in which case the inscription is: Soshestvie [Sozhestvie] Svyatago Dukha
“Descent of the Holy Spirit”
Lower Right: The Dormition (Uspenie) of Mary. Inscription: Ouspenie Presvyatuiya Bogoroditsui
“Dormition of the most holy Mother of God”
Top: The Praise (Pokhvala) of the Mother of God. Inscription: Obraz” Pokhvalui Presvyatuiya Bogoroditsui
“Image of the Praise of the Most Holy Mother of God”
Below that come four scenes of Poklonenie (Veneration) of Wonderworking icons of Mary:
Left: The “Tikhvin” icon with saints Aleksandr Svirskiy and Kirill Byelozerskiy, etc.
Right: The “Vladimir” icon with saints Maksim and Vasiliy (Maxim and Basil) Fools for Christ’s Sake, etc.
Lower left: The “Smolensk” icon with saints Antoniy and Feodosiy Pecherskiy, etc.
Lower right: The “Sign” icon with saints Antoniy Rimlyanin and Leontiy Rostovskiy, etc.
On the reverse side of such icons, one often finds a “Golgotha Cross,” which is discussed — as are the icons of major Church festivals and the individual Marian icons — in previous postings that may be found in the archives here through the “search” function on this site. You will find the abbreviations, etc., used in such cases in this previous posting:
In Russian terminology, a “folding” icon — whether a diptych (two-panel), triptych (three-panel), quadriptych (four-panel) or simply several-panel (polyptych) form — is called a складень/skladen’.