Icon with Christ Pantepotes and the Chorus of Saints

Date: 14th–15th century

Culture: Byzantine

Medium: Steatite

Dimensions: Overall: 3 7/16 x 2 5/16 x 3/8 in. (8.7 x 5.9 x 0.9 cm)
on mount with 63.68.1-.13: 6 15/16 x 5 3/16 x 3/8 in. (17.6 x 13.2 x 0.9 cm)
Mount: 7 5/8 x 6 1/8 x 13/16 in. (19.4 x 15.5 x 2 cm)

Classification: Steatites

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1963

Accession Number: 63.68.1–.13


In miniature scale, this complex icon composition includes more than 100 figures. In the center sits Christ, identified in Greek as the Pantepoptes, or Overseer of All. The Gospel book in his hand reads "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). Twelve scenes from Christ's life surrounding the central image are identified by Greek inscriptions: the Annunciation, Nativity, Presentation, Baptism, Raising of Lazarus, Entry into Jerusalem, Metamorphosis (Transfiguration), Crucifixion, Deposition, Empty Tomb, Anastasis (Harrowing of Hell), and Ascension. Inscribed panels showing "choruses" of saints frame the icon, each with Christ Emmanuel blessing a different group of saints. The top row is the chorus of Prophets; the second row, the Apostles; the third row, the Church Fathers; and the last row, martyrs—saints Constantine and Helena, Anargyroi (medical saints), and the Three Hebrews in the furnace.