John the Theologian


(May 9 and September 26)

Our patron, Saint John, also known as St. John the Evangelist, was the beloved disciple of Christ. When Christ called him, he left his life as a fisherman and followed Him.  He, along with James his brother, and Peter comprised the inner circle of the Disciples. He witnessed the Transfiguration and inclined his head on Jesus’s breast at the supper in the upper room before the Crucifixion.  Christ entrusted the care of His mother to him from the Cross for all the Disciples had fled except him. He is shown as an old man on our iconostasis because he was the only disciple who was not martyred. He was exiled to Patmos where he converted many and wrote his Gospel and The Apocalypse (Book of Revelation).  St. John is called the “Apostle of Love” because he taught that one cannot know God with love. He died there well advanced in years.  In some icons, he is depicted as a young man.  He is symbolized as an eagle, representing the loftiness of his theology.

 

St. John on the Iconostasis

Iconographer: Luke Dingman

 

 

Saint John on the Royal Doors

Iconographer: Jan Isham

At the center of the iconostasis are the Royal Doors, or Beautiful Gates, in front of the altar. The four Evangelists are on the outer edges of them.  Each one beckons us to listen to the Word of Life Whose life and message is recorded in their Gospels. The inner portions of each door contain the icon of the Annunciation in diptych because the Incarnation is the focal point of our salvation. The Theotokos is on the right and Gabriel on the left.  The Doors are open at special times during Vespers, Matins and the Divine Liturgy. These are times when God comes to us, including during the Gospel reading and our reception of the Holy Mysteries. When the Doors are closed, we are reminded of our separation from the holiness of God.

 

 

The Crucifixion (Holy Friday)

iconograher: Luke Dingman

Christ gave His life for the redemption of humanity on Great and Holy Friday.  He was accused of blasphemy and tried at both a religious and a political trial.  Several events occurring at the Crucifixion are shown in this icon.  He was crucified by Roman soldiers outside the city gates after being mocked and scourged.  Nails fastened His hands and feet to the wood and a spear pierced His side. A sign was placed at His head saying, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” He committed his spirit to the Father, and his body was removed and taken down before the Sabbath. We see the Theotokos looking up in anguish at her Son and being comforted by the Myrrhbearers and St. John the Beloved Disciple at His feet. He was the only disciple who remained at the Cross and Jesus commended the care of His Mother to him. Next to him is Longinus the Centurion who saw the events and glorified God declaring, “Truly this was a righteous Man.”  Below the Cross is a dark hole with a skull representing Adam, the first created man.  Tradition says he was buried under Golgotha and he was therefore the first man touched by the cleansing blood of Christ. The rocks split as creation groaned at His death.

 

 

Saint John on Patmos

Iconographer: Dmitry Shkolnik

Saint John the Theologian is usually depicted as a young man; however, here as in other icons in our nave, he is shown as an old man.  Toward the end of his life, he was exiled to the island of Patmos.  There he received the vision of the Apocalypse, as recorded in the Book of Revelation.  He is listening to the word of God and dictating to Prochorus, his scribe. He is seated near a cave showing his isolation form the world.

 

 

Pentecost

Iconographer: Luke Dingman

Pentecost occurred fifty days after the Resurrection. The disciples had been instructed by Christ to go to Jerusalem for the celebration of the Jewish feast and await the descent of the Holy Spirit. A sound like a mighty wind filled the room where they gathered and tongues of fire rested on each one. They miraculously spoke to those gathered for the feast from every nation in their own languages. St. Peter preached to them of Christ, and 3000 were converted. The twelve Apostles are seated in a semi-circle which shows their unity. Some gesture as if conversing. The authors of books in the Bible hold books and others hold scrolls which represent the gift of teaching.  The center place is shown as empty because it is held for Christ, the invisible Head of the Church. The figure at the bottom is Cosmos, who depicts the world. He is in darkness because the world was formerly without the Light of Christ. He holds the message or scrolls of the Apostles on a white cloth.  The eleven original Apostles are shown with St. Paul.

 

 

Communion of the Apostles

Iconographer: Luke Dingman

Behind the altar is the icon which represents the high point of the Divine Liturgy, Communion. This is not just the Last Supper, but a mystical representation of the Eternal Liturgy which was, is and will be celebrated in the Kingdom of God.  Christ is depicted in the liturgical vestments of the celebrant. Two angels serve and are robed as deacons.  The Apostle Paul replaces Judas.  The Apostles are from left to right: Sts. Jude, James Alphaeus, Matthew, Thomas, James Zebedee, Peter, John the Evangelist, Paul. Andrew, Simon the Zealot, Philip and Bartholomew.