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Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ
“Thirst after Jesus, and He will satisfy you with his love.”
The person of Jesus Christ is to be revered and honored. The Orthodox Church confesses Jesus Christ to be the Son of the Living God and the second person of the Holy Trinity. Because of this, we worship Him as God. Through the Incarnation, He became man without any change to His Divinity in order to rescue us from death by granting to us the Resurrection.
The Orthodox Church gives proper honor to the person of Jesus Christ by placing His image as the first icon on the iconostasis. This preeminent positioning of the icon is observed by every Orthodox Church throughout the world.
As we learn from Holy Tradition and Holy Scripture, Jesus Christ was born from the Virgin Mary, the Holy Theotokos. He was born not from the seed of man but from the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-2:21.)
He was a great man whom the people praised as a prophet and whom His disciples called the Son of God. St. John the Evangelist, the writer of the Gospel, says that Jesus is the Divine Word (Logos) of God who existed for all eternity. Further, He is God and that He is also the Creator of all things and is Life Himself (John 1:1-5.)
Jesus is seen as the very reflection of the God the Father. It is in and through the Son that the Father is revealed to us: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father, except through me” (John 14:6.) It is therefore proper to say that Christ is the Living Icon of the Father. St. Paul uses the word icon in describing Jesus in Colossians 1:15, “He Who is the Icon of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”
Christ is the person who enables us to share in the Father’s divine glory. Jesus becomes for us the bond and meeting point: because He is man, He is one with us; because He is God, He is one with the Father. It is through Jesus the God-man that we men are ‘divinized’ or made ‘sharers in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4.) By assuming our humanity, Christ who is Son of God by nature has made us sons of God by grace. In Him, we are ‘adopted’ by God the Father, becoming sons-in-the-Son.
It is also through Jesus Christ that the Holy Spirit is made manifest to the world. It was not until after His Crucifixion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension into heaven; that the Holy Spirit came upon the Disciples and manifested Himself to the nations.
On all icons of Jesus Christ you will notice a few letters in Greek. The “IC” “XC” represent the first and last letters of the name Jesus Christ in Greek. The “O WN” found around the halo is the Greek title used by God to name Himself in Scripture. Many people refer to this as the “I AM” but the more correctly it is translated “He Who Is” since its etymology implies a third person. This inscription used on icons depicting Christ identifies Him as God and also makes Him active in the Old Testament by uniting Him with the actions of His Father.
Here are some uses of the word “O WN” found in Scripture: “Then Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them.’ God said to Moses, ‘I AM O WN.’” (I Am He Who Is.) (Exodus 3:13-14.) Also see Exodus 6:2-3.