Boundless Christ | Resurrection Icon with Extra Scenes
Russian Icon, 17th Century
In the tomb with the body, in hell with the soul as God, in paradise with the thief and on the throne with the Father and the Spirit, You fill all things, O boundless Christ.
The prayer above, said by the priest during the Divine Liturgy, attempts to describe in words the mystery of Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Simply put, Christ, being truly God, remained “omnipresent” – everywhere – even whilst seemingly constrained by a human body.
At the centre of the scene is Christ “in the tomb”, though because it is a Resurrection icon it is instead showing Jesus’ physical rising from the tomb. Clothed in glorious golden robes, Jesus emerges from the stone coffin, with the discarded grave clothes still visible. To Christ’s left the soldiers appointed to guard His tomb are witnesses to the empty tomb, whilst to His right are the angels which rolled away the stone and would later declare the good news to Mary Magdalene.
Below Jesus’ feet is a globe, or sometimes a part of a globe, representing Christ’s victory over the world through His physical Resurrection.
When the composition of this icon becomes set after the 17th century, Christ is almost always also shown holding a banner (called in Russian a Khorugv) bearing a red cross as He rises from the tomb. This image of the Resurrection by itself is probably more familiar to western Christians (e.g. Dieric Bout’s Resurrection, c. 1455)