Russian icon of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, XIX century
Dimensions: 31 x 26.5 cm
The Descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles (Pentecost) is one of the twelve greatest Christian holidays. This event, which was the fulfillment of Old and New Testament prophecies, tells us how the grace of God promised to them, descended upon the closest disciples and followers of Jesus. The iconography of the icon represents the apostles sitting in a semicircle on which the Holy Spirit descends. Inside their nimbuses are inscribed the tongues of fire: the apostles are honored by the Holy Spirit from the Savior Himself according to His promise they saw tongues like flames of a fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. In the center of the apostolic semicircle is the Virgin with the same tongue of fire. The apostles Peter and Paul are present on the icon, although they were not in Zion’s room at that moment. However, due to their merits, they were depicted along with the other disciples of Christ. Books and scrolls in the hands of all the twelve apostles are symbols of their church teachings.