Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sophia, The Wisdom of God

The above is an icon in the collection of the British Museum. It is a Russian icon from the late 17th century, depicting Sophia, God's Wisdom, along with Christ, the Theotokos ('God-bearer', Mary), and John the Baptist (a.k.a. Forerunner). Here's an excerpt from the site:
Amongst icons of the Mother of God in the collection of the British Museum is a fine icon of ‘Sophia the Wisdom of God’ (cat. no. 25) from the late 17th century. In this icon are represented two widespread versions of the symbolic union of the image of the Mother of God with the idea of Divine Wisdom ‘building her house’, understood as the creation of the earthly church. The image of the fiery-faced winged angel in the centre, according to Novgorodian tradition, arises from the prophecies of Isaiah about an angel of Great Light and the vision of John the Apostle in the Book of Revelation: ‘And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire’ (10:1).
Below is a more recent rendition of the above icon, found here:

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