JUNE 16, 2019 - "THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT"
The icon for the feast of PENTECOST has traditional elements that teach the spiritual structure of the Christian Church. Against the background of a temple, the Apostles are depicted in a circular form, giving the impression of unity.
But if the icon is a representation of the Church, then it must have more than Apostles depicted. And this is the case. Among the twelve are a number who were not of the original Twelve. There is St. Paul and the Evangelists Luke and Mark (who hold Gospels). The Apostles bear scrolls, for they are essentially teachers of Good News.
The Acts, describing the historic Descent of the Sprit, speaks of the multitude present on that occasion. Ancient icons did, in fact, depict multitudes in the lower central portion of the icon. This has been replaced by the strange symbolic figure of a king. The man is in a dark place, for the world before Christ was lacking faith; he is depicted aged, for the sin of Adam has aged him; the crown signifies sin, which ruled the work; the cloth he holds, with the twelve scrolls, signifies the Twelve Apostles who brought light to the world through their proclamation of the news of Jesus Christ.
Because Pentecost was the baptism of the Church by fire, we see the rays of fire descending upon the gathered group. And so we have, finally, the fulfillment of the revelation of the Holy Trinity: the Father as Creator, the Son as Saviour and now the Holy Spirit, come as Comforter & Sanctifier of the Church.