Baptism of Christ – Antique Serigraph | Father Pefkis


Τhe 22K gold background in combination with the vivid colors of the hagiography make this artwork unique. The Baptism icon has been crafted by father Pefkis, famous Greek hagiographer and graduate of the Athonite Ecclesiastical Academy on Mount Athos.



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The composition of the icon has been particularly well studied, even to its smallest details. Everything, from the shape of the rocks to the proportion of the colors, contains a deeper meaning and obeys the strict rules of the Byzantine iconography. The visual depiction of the apocryphal text acquires a unique and symbolic character.

Hagiographer Father Pefkis, applies the knowledge he acquired while studying at the Athonite Ecclesiastical Academy of Mount Athos next to established iconographer. The icon of Baptism is hand finished and has been crafted on natural wood while the background is adorned with ormolu leaves.

The event depicted in the icon is that described in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke; here is Matthew’s version:
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”

But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17)

This, then, is the Epiphany (revelation) of the Holy Trinity, otherwise known asTheophany which literally means a “revelation of God” in Greek (Θεοφάνεια; the Russian is Богоявление and means the same).

The paradox that Jesus Christ might be revealed as God through an act of submittal to a mere man, John, is shown well in the Icon. Though John is baptizing Christ, it is the former who is shown bent over in reverence to the latter. In other icons, John is shown with his face turned toward heaven and beholding the miracle of the Theophany; either way, despite being the baptizer, he is not central to the scene. Near to John is a tree with an axe laid at the root, recalling John’s own preaching to those who came to him:“And now also the ax is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every tree which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Matt 3:10). Present in the icon, this shows that whilst the Baptizer must now “decrease so Christ may increase”, John’s teachings and role are not done away with now the Holy Trinity has been revealed. On the opposite bank to John the Baptist, angels wait invisibly to receive the newly baptized Christ and clothe Him. And so, on the left is the forerunner of Christ, John, with his sermon of repentance represented by the tree and axe; on the right, the angels wait with reverence to accept the newly revealed Son of God. In the middle – the moment of revelation itself.



Origin: Father Pefkis Hagiography Workshop

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Additional information

Weight 1 kg