Russia Applied Art Religious Double-Sided Procession Icon

Double-Sided Procession Icon

Double-sided procession icons were traditionally placed alongside the communion table in the altar – the holy of holies in the Russian Orthodox church. The special place allotted to double-sided icons in the church interior and their role in religious processions – marches around churches, monasteries and whole cities on feast days or during national calamities, epidemics and famines – defined the nature of their painting. The facial side generally depicted the Virgin and Child, symbolising the Lord’s assumption of human flesh and Mary’s intercession on behalf of humanity. The image on the back of the icon was also profoundly symbolical, generally depicting the Crucifixion – the dramatic culmination of Jesus Christ’s life on earth, which revealed the essence of His sacrifice in redemption of the sins of man. The practice of painting double-sided procession icons in Russia was heavily influenced by the traditional folk worship of saints and the special nature of Orthodox religious practices.

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