“And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: and there came a voice from heaven, saying, ‘Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” (Mark 1:10-11) The Baptism of Christ reproduces this Gospel testimony, with the addition of details corresponding to the divine service.
In accordance with the Gospel, the segment of the circle in the upper portion of the icon symbolizes the heavens opened and the dove represents the Holy Spirit descending. In the symbolic language of iconography the Savior stands against the background of water, suggesting immersion of His entire body and foreshadowing His burial in the cave. With His right hand, Christ blesses the waters of the Jordan River and sanctifies them by His immersion. Through this blessing and sanctification, the waters come to symbolize spiritual birth and renewal.
St. John the Baptist, precursor of the Messiah, officiates at the baptism while the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael hold cloaks ready to cover the body of the Lord as He emerges from the waters.
Christ’s baptism revealed the truth of the Trinity, presenting the Father through the voice from heaven, the Son in the person of Christ and the Holy Spirit as the dove.
(This narrative is printed on the back of Note Cards. A copy is included with each plaque and photo.)
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