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The Beloved Disciple

Icon Holy Card

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Imprinting available.
PCA502 $3.95

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The Beloved Disciple Icon Greeting Card (CA6757)
The Beloved Disciple Icon Reproduction (A02)

Description

This wonderful icon depicts Jesus comforting the “beloved disciple" of John’s Gospel. Through prayer, each of us can place ourselves in the arms of the Lord. Meditating with this beautiful image is a great way to begin the process.

Icon holy cards are printed on heavy cream-colored paper in a convenient size for use as gifts or bookmarks, 3 1/8" x 4 5/8". The backs are blank except for a faint colophon at the bottom, leaving plenty of room for custom imprinting with your own message. These holy cards are sold in packages of 25.

Image Origins

The Gospel of John refers several times to "the disciple Jesus loved." Many modern scripture scholars now agree with ancient sources that the Apostle John wrote this Gospel (or dictated most of the information) and was indirectly talking about himself. See the following verses for these oblique self-references: 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, and 21:7.

This classic synthesis of traditional eastern iconographic forms with modern insight into the meaning of Holy Eucharist by Brother Claude shows Jesus and St. John the Evangelist seated together at the table of the Last Supper. The original hangs in the cloister of Mount Angel Abbey, and reproductions are available in card and print form directly from them. This has been one of their most popular images.

Theology and Symbolism

Jesus is shown seated but full length, looking partly at John and partly at the viewer, with his left hand holding a scroll representing His Divine Word and his right hand gesturing toward the bread and wine on the table. He is dressed in the traditional garb of tunic and cloak. His cloak, called in Greek a "himation" is dark blue signifying the mystery of His divine life. His tunic is red to signify His human blood shed for us all. The garments of the Messiah in Isaiah 63:1-4 were red, as was the soldier's cloak put on Jesus' shoulders during his passion (Matthew 27:28). Christ's halo, the iconographic symbol for sanctity, is inscribed with a cross and the Greek letters; omicron, omega, nu; spelling "HO ON." In English, this becomes "Who Am," the name used for God in Exodus 3:14: "I Am Who Am."

The inverse perspective of Jesus' chair and foot pedestal are a deliberate visual distortion used by iconographers to draw the viewer into the action. The building in the background is a symbol of the church. The writing in red on the gold leaf background labels the figures so that no one will misunderstand their identities. "IC XC" is the shortened Greek form of "Jesus Christ."

John has head bowed and hands extended in the traditional posture for receiving the Holy Eucharist. The cup and bread on the table are also obviously symbolic of the bread and wine miraculously transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, first at the Last Supper, and now at every mass.

The words at the bottom of the picture are part of an interpretation of Psalm 84:3 by Mount Angel's own Abbot Bonaventure of blessed memory: My heart and my flesh cry out: O God, O living God!

The partial anonymity of the Beloved Disciple invites us to place ourselves in this scene, becoming beloved disciples as well. Patient meditation on the details of the loving interaction presented to us in this beautiful icon can be a very rewarding prayer experience.



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Proceeds from the Printery House help to support the monks of Conception Abbey and Conception Seminary College, where young men receive an accredited college education as they study in preparation for the Catholic priesthood.


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This site last updated: Friday, February 24, 2017