St. John, alternately referred to as the Apostle, the Evangelist, the Theologian and the Divine, is here depicted with his scribe, the deacon Prochorus (Acts 6:5). Early Christian histories describe John as leader of the church in Ephesus. Due to unfavorable sentiment towards Christians in the Roman Empire, John and his disciple Prochorus were exiled to the island of Patmos off the coast of present day Turkey. John's presence, miracles and authorship of the Book of Revelation are commemorated on the island at various ancient shrines frequented by pilgrims to this day. The length of John's exile is generally considered to have been five years. He eventually returned to Ephesus.
The prototype for this icon is found on the Royal Doors of the Iconostasis in Orthodox churches. The golden orb in the upper left symbolizes the source of divine wisdom. A fiery seraph, or angel, attends the process of inspiration. The six winged seraphim described by Isaiah are of the highest among the nine orders of angels and are attendants before God's throne. John's insight into the heart of Christ is unique in the gospels because of his ability to penetrate the soul of Christ with love.
(This narrative is included with each plaque.)
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