Icon «The Last Supper»: the history of creation, value, in which cases helps
The icon «The Last Supper», for sure, is the most popular sacred artifact on our planet. And even if you didn’t have the opportunity to personally see the holy face, then at least you should have heard something about this biblical story and its participants.
If you want to know the sacred meaning of the icon «The Last Supper», the history of its writing, as well as the kind of prayers that can be addressed to it — then I strongly recommend you to read this article.
What will tell the sacred face of «The Last Supper»
What happened that evening, wanted to find out and icon painters, and masters of painting. The fresco painted by Leonardo da Vinci, which to this day provokes a lot of heated discussions around itself, is widely known.
However, in church painting there is a slightly different goal, it is distinguished by a deep symbolism, even a certain characteristic corresponds to every shade. So what is the purpose of telling the face of The Last Supper for an Orthodox Christian?
Initially, we will try to find out for what reason the meal was carried out in the evening? It turns out that the Easter holiday of the Jews belongs to the Old Testament and is rooted in the times of Ancient Egypt.
The main action took place just at night. All the people of the angel were given the task of slaughtering a lamb and marking the door of their homes with the help of his blood in order to avoid the wrath of the Lord directed at the Egyptians.
Hebrews were forbidden to leave their homes until morning came. That night, all the firstborn died, and Pharaoh was forced to surrender and release the slaves, led by Moses.
In the future, we can understand the meaning of the new ritual that Jesus Christ established. From now on, there is no longer any need for bloody sacrifices, since the Son of God is now being taken as the Lamb.
And proceeding from this, the face of the “Last Supper” tells about the fact that a new era is beginning for humanity, a new phase of the relationship between God and people follows. This explains why the drawing of the famous dinner can be found in almost all Orthodox churches at the entrance to the altar.
But now, just like that night, bread and wine is being offered as a sacrifice, since blood is not spilled any more, because the Savior has redeemed it.
What happened on that Good Thursday?
- At first, Jesus washed the feet of his followers.
- Then the Eucharist was established.
- The Savior prayed for the cup (the Garden of Gethsemane).
- Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus.
- Jesus was arrested.
What does the holy image
The above are not all events of that evening. One student came up with the idea of betraying his companions, the contract was already concluded, and they gave money for treason.
Looking at the various versions of the Last Supper icons, we see in a number of images a particularly brightly drawn figure of Judas, which stretches to the central part of the table, demonstrating that he is a traitor. It is noticeable that he is sitting in a ridiculous and somewhat awkward pose.
Due to it, the masters of icon painting emphasize the whole audacity and depth of the traitor’s fall. His name began to be used as a reprimand.
Where the secret meal itself took place is not known for certain. However, it is unlikely that in that setting there were chairs with a wide, long table we were used to. After all, even the Romans did not use the chairs, the Jews could have them, but in a very limited number.
It was customary to eat food while lying down on the bench or on the floor, the pillow was additionally spread for more comfort.
The table on the icon is a symbol of something completely different. Speaking about the theological meaning of the face of “The Last Supper”, it should be noted that it is intended to remind about the Eucharist, then performed for the first time. And, proceeding from this, the table in this case does not fulfill the role of just a kitchen piece of furniture on which food is taken, but acts as a prototype of the Throne in the altar.
Taking part in the Eucharist is the main purpose of the life of a Christian, because this is how he can fully unite with the Creator.
Explanation. The Eucharist is in fact the same communion, refers to one of the seven sacraments in Christianity.
Icons of Greek and Russian origin show us a very detailed description of the dinner: we can see a large bowl of meat, fish, and a piece of bread and even grass. The table also differs in its form and what is in the room.
But one single moment remains unchanged — the painters single out the figure of Jesus either in size or in terms of the characteristics of clothing, posture, and so on.
Where can the icon be placed in a dwelling?
Is it necessary to buy the icon of the Last Supper in my home? If you consider yourself a believer and would like to have it in your home iconostasis, then the answer will be unequivocal — certainly what is needed.
In principle, there are no strict rules. There are only wishes according to which the faces of the Savior, the Virgin Mary and St. Nicholas the Saint will be present in the house of Orthodox Christians.
In addition, it can be the apostles, captured in a very touching moment: when they first receive the Holy Gifts.
There is the option of placing the icon in the kitchen so that you can offer a prayer to her before the meal. Or just put it on your home iconostasis — the easiest, but no less effective option.
An interesting nuance. The icon of the Last Supper, similar to the icon of the Holy Trinity, can be placed on top of the images of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.
On this basis, we can conclude that the image is highly significant.
What problems does the Last Supper icon help?
Now that you know the general information about this image, let’s get acquainted with the scope of the icon.
So, it is recommended to pray before the holy face in some cases:
- Most importantly, by analogy with many other icons, the Last Supper allows you to concentrate on establishing contact with the Creator, opening your most intimate thoughts and experiences, sharing anxieties and joys, and reaching a state of spiritual harmony in the process of prayer.
- In the case when the icon is placed in the dining room, the hostess is advised to read a short prayer in order to receive a blessing before each meal.
- Also, as we mentioned above, the icon can offer prayers before and after the meal.
- In the temple «The Last Supper» is traditionally located where the Royal Doors are located and all who came to the church can turn to her for a blessing.
- And, of course, at the holy face, you can pray to the Most High to forgive sins. And it doesn’t matter where you do it — in the church or at home, it’s much more important that the prayer truly come from your heart.
A little interesting about the creator of the icon
Do you know an interesting parable about a person who painted the Last Supper fresco? When the composition was already composed by the artist, he needed models for her, however, it was not easy to cope with this task.
The artist encountered particular difficulties in finding the model of the Savior himself.
One time, Leonardo happened to see a young man of very attractive appearance, speaking in the church. He had such a kind face that he instantly captivated the painter.
But to find Judas Iscariot in Da Vinci did not work. The customer’s patience was running out, the work had to be completed in a short time, by all means. Suddenly, when Leonardo was walking along the road, he noticed a stroller in a ditch.
His face was distorted by cruelty, sinful passions, anger — the whole spectrum of negative emotions. It was with this that he attracted the attention of the artist, and he gave the order to drag him into the workshop.
When the vagabond sobered up, he began to assert that he had already seen this picture before. Surprisingly, it turned out that it was he who acted as a model for writing Jesus Christ.
It seems very prosaic — how quickly people are exposed to known vices and passions.
The holy face «The Last Supper» shows us in reality a very crucial moment. Very soon, the Savior will show his Divine nature to the disciples.
And subsequently, many of them also happen to die the same painful death.
And despite the fact that the Church was founded on the day of Pentecost, it was there, in that room depicted on the icon, that they made the main sacrifice — the Savior first washed the feet of his disciples, and then gave his body with blood, albeit symbolically, but soon he will ascend to Calvary … And the memories of this event are designed to help believers support them in difficult moments of life and instill hope and faith in their hearts.
At the end of the article I recommend you to watch an interesting thematic video material:
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