The icon of Christ the King and the Great Hierarch, a work belonging to the pinnacle of Italo-Cretan art, has a preserved part of the inscription with the painter’s surname – Zgouros – on the lower left edge. He was identified as Constantinos Zgouros and was one of the painters active in the church of St. George in Venice, in the first half of the 17th century. This impeccably painted icon shows that he is an excellent painter.

The representation of Christ the King and the Great Hierarch was created according to parts of the Epistle to the Hebrews of the Apostle Paul. On the leaves of the open book held by Christ, two quotes are written: “My kingdom is not of this world; if it were…” (Gospel according to John 18:36) and “Take, eat, this is My Body, which is broken for you for the remission of sins.” (from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom).

The mystical figure of Christ the King and Great Hierarch was inspired by the mysterious figure of the Old Testament, the king-priest Melchisadek. He appears out of nowhere in the First Book of Moses (14:18-20), offers wine and bread and blesses the forefather Abraham after his victory over his enemies, receives a dozen from him and just as unexpectedly, disappears from the narrative. Once again, this priest king is mentioned in the Old Testament. David’s Psalm 109 in verse 4 speaks of “priests after the order of Melchizedek” who were neither born nor died. In the New Testament, this verse was used by the apostle Paul, in the Epistles to the Hebrews, aware of the importance of this king-priest in the Jewish tradition and interpreted Jesus Christ as the eternal high priest “after the order of Melchizedek”.

Pin It on Pinterest