Christ Pantocrator image, is one of the most profound theological images depicting the idea of spirit made flesh. The icon is not just a nice sacred image, it speaks a theological concept Christians hold as truth, “Man became God that God Might become Man”. St Atanasious
Christ Pantocrator, meaning “Ruler of All.” represents the teacher in the act of blessing with His right hand while holding a closed gospel book in His left. Normally Christ seems to express little or no emotion, but this ancient portrait presents the face of Christ, the serious and the calm. Divinity becomes visible to us as a teacher, seriously concerned or kindly focused looking out at you. His image and presence is an ongoing relationship with us.
Christ is the Second Person of the Trinity, the only one of the three it is documented we can see, he walked around the earth with us at one point. He existed because of spirit and later was portrayed as an icon because he is an image, perceived by humankind through their senses. As such, an icon is a reflection (image) of Christ, the Word (logos) made flesh.
The Icon of the Christ image is the union of both divine nature and human nature, present simultaneously within eternity and the limits of time and space. God made visible by human hand; makes you wonder, who is the painter and who or what is divine.
THE FACE OF THE PANTOCRATOR
Around Christ’s head is a halo, an almost universal symbol of holiness. Inside of Christ’s halo is the Cross – the three arms branch in three directions. Upon the three arms are the Greek letters ώ Ό Ν (omega, omicron, nu) which literally means “the being” or more precisely “He who is”. Old Testament reveals “He who is” to be the name God revealed to Moses (Ex. 3:14 – in the Septuagint text this is ἐγώ εἰμί ὁ ὢν: “I am He Who is”).
To either side of the Holy Face are the letters “IC” and “XC”, a widely used four letter abbreviation of the Greek for Jesus (IHCOYC) Christ (XPICTOC).
CHRIST BLESSING THE VIEWER
To any Orthodox or Catholic Christian, Jesus’ right hand is unmistakably shown as being raised to give a blessing. The fingers spell out the four-letter Christogram “IC XC”, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;” (Phil 2:10). The three fingers untied remind us of the trinity and the two fingers extended remind us of the two natures; all man and all spirit. I also like to think of the empty space the fingers make as they are joined, representing a moment of encompass eternal space.
Christ Pantocrator Image is usually shown wearing a red robe covered in a blue/green cloak. The red symbolizes earth, whilst the blue/green symbolizes cosmos. Thus Jesus Christ is comes to us a flesh whose home is int the cosmos. The blue/green cloak is distinct from the red, as Christ’s humanity and divinity are distinct and not “inter-mingled”.