Bulgarian icons: a window to the sky

Russian and Bulgarian religious art have common origins in Byzantine culture. This fact of kinship and brotherhood of the peoples wanted to emphasize the authors of the exhibition “Masterpieces of religious art in Bulgaria”, which opened in the Engineering building of the Tretyakov gallery. At the opening Zelfira Tregulova wished the guests “amazing contact with the great images.”

Christ Pantokrator. Photo: Diana Macula

…Communication, and true, it turns out amazing: they fascinate, and a live performance of the choir of the Church of St. Nicholas at Tolmachi makes the atmosphere more sublime.

The first image that greets visitors – a depiction of the Savior on the obverse-sided icon of “Christ Pantocrator. Christ in the tomb” of St. Stephen’s Church in Nessebar. On the face of the Christ Pantocrator holding the code, disclosed in the words of the gospel of John (8:12): I am the Light of the world; he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

The face occupies a Central place at the exhibition: he recalls the close contacts with the Eastern Christian Empire, the Russian and Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

This just mentioned Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk in his speech:

— Carrying out in Moscow this exhibition again clearly shows that the precious heritage of the peoples, akimseu the Russian and Bulgarian Orthodox churches, is combining their Holy Orthodox faith and flourished on the basis of its Slavic culture. Alternate era, fading fleeting political circumstances of this world, but remains firmly in the paternal rock of the Orthodox faith, which has long been based on our fraternal relations. An important part of our common faith is a pious tradition of the veneration of icons. I am sure that this exhibition will be of interest to the ancient Bulgarian Church art and will contribute to strengthening good relations between the Russian and Bulgarian Orthodox churches.


The miracle of the GreatMartyr George. Photo: Diana Macula

From the exhibited works of great interest are the monuments originating from Ohrid, the most important spiritual and cultural center. This is a carved icon of the XIV century with the image of the great feasts, among which the air with the image of our lady the great Panagia.

Bright, distinctive character is the icon from the Rila monastery “Archangel Michael removes the soul of the rich” relating to the period of National revival in Bulgaria. In the center of the composition depicts the Archangel Michael with outspread wings, clad in armor. He tramples a dying rich man, in desperation, tearing the hair on his grizzled beard. Head over to rich inscription in Bulgarian: “You are my srebrolyubets”. In the NINETEENTH century are didactic images have become very popular.

A separate Chapter is icons, embodying the life of the saints. Such images are easy to understand, because they were designed specifically for people who cannot read. For example, the icon “the Miracle of St. George” tells the story of the confession of the Holy faith before the Emperor Diocletian and of the subsequent imprisonment of the Saint in prison, where he has not renounced his faith in spite of terrible torture.


Archangel Michael removes the soul of the rich. Photo: Diana Macula

In a sign of the spiritual communion of two Orthodox peoples arrived in Moscow a list with the ancient wonderworking icon of the mother of God of three hands from the Trojan stavropegic monastery. The icon is exposed for worship in the temple-Museum of St. Nicholas in Tolmachi at the Tretyakov gallery.

Put it accurately, the Metropolitan of Central and Western Europe Anthony about the role of icons and exhibitions in the life of every Orthodox Christian:

You know that icons are a window to the sky. This little piece of heaven on earth. We are very happy because this show puts a significant grain ties between the two fraternal peoples of the Bulgarian and Russian.

The exhibition “Masterpieces of religious art in Bulgaria” will last until September 2.

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