Saturday, June 17, 2006

Archangel Gabriel pointing to Christ

You see here archangel Gabriel (the original from which it was taken is from the 14th century). It must originally have belonged to a deisis-group. A deisis-group is found on the iconostasis (the icon wall) in the Orthodox Churches. It is a sequence of several icons which are in guesture of prayer turning towards Christ (as the Centre), who is sitting in the middle of the row. Normally left hand side to Christ is Mother Mary followed by archangel Michael and right hand side is John the Baptist followed by archangel Gabriel. Even more Icons can follow in the same guesture and the row can be rather long.
Gabriel is a Hebrew name and means translated: man of God or power/strength of God ('gabar' is man and 'el' is God). The most famous story on him is the one in the Bible, when he appears to Mary to proclaim that she will conceive the child Jesus. But here he is the pointing archangel which leads us to turn to Christ as the Centre.