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Russian Icon - the Severed Head of St. John the Baptist in gilt silver cover

Spectacular Russian Orthodox icon depicting the Severed Head of St. John the Baptist resting on a platter. An 18th-century central panel was embellished in 1803 by adding borders depicting parents of St. John the Baptist - St. Zechariah and St. Elisabeth and by covering the icon in an elaborate gilt silver cover with the halo further decorated with glass crystals. The inscription on the bottom part of the icon is the Orthodox hymn sung during liturgy dedicated to the Beheading of St. John. The icon's cover is stamped with a hallmark of a silversmith Yegor Antipiev in Moscow and 1803 date. 

Saint John the Baptist was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early first century AD who is revered as a major religious figure in Christianity, Islam, and other faiths. He is called a prophet by all of these traditions and is honored as a saint in many Christian traditions. The Orthodox faithful believe that John was the last of the Old Testament prophets, thus serving as a bridge between that period of revelation and the New Covenant. They also teach that, following his death, John descended into Hades and there once more preached that Jesus the Messiah was coming, so he was the Forerunner of Christ in death as he had been in life. Eastern Orthodox churches will often have an icon of St. John the Baptist in a place of honor on the iconostasis, and he is frequently mentioned during the Divine Services. Every Tuesday throughout the year is dedicated to his memory.

According to the Tradition, Herod's daughter Herodias danced before Herod, who was so pleased that he offered her anything she asks for in return. When the girl asks her mother what she should request, she is told to demand the head of John the Baptist. Reluctantly, Herod orders the beheading of John, and his head is delivered to her, at her request, on a plate. (Mark 6:17–29). 

Additional Info

  • ID#: 09-RSMI-3
  • Size: 13 1/2 x 11 in (34 x 28 cm)
  • Age: Central panel - 18th century, borders and metal cover - ca. 1803
  • Origin: Moscow, Russia
  • Materials: Egg tempera and gilding on gessoed wood in gilt silver revetment cover
  • Price: Price upon request
  • Silver
  • Orthodox Cross

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