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"Take and eat; this is my body."
In “The Mystical Supper", Jesus dines with his apostles in this traditional image of the Last Supper. The beloved disciple reclines against the Lord, Peter proclaims his loyalty, while Judas reaches for the dish. This icon would grace any Christian dining room and is the symbol of one of the most important events in the Gospel. Card size 4 3/8" x 6".
Icon greeting cards are single-fold cards printed on heavy stock, 4.38" x 5.93". The cards are blank inside for your own message or custom imprint and have an explanation of the history and symbolism of the icon printed on the back.
The Mystical or Last Supper is a special event in the Gospels. Accounts may be found in Matthew 26:17-35, Mark 14:12-31, Luke 22:7-38, and John Chapters 13 through 17. It has historical significance, a Passover meal on the vigil of the Lord’s passion with Jesus’ betrayer present. It also has mystical significance, being the occasion the Lord used to institute the Holy Eucharist. Icons of the Mystical Supper have existed in both Eastern and Western art since the sixth century. They can be grouped into two types, one emphasizing the emotion and the intercommunication among Jesus and His disciples at the announcement of the betrayal, and the other emphasizing the sacramental sharing of the bread and wine transformed into Christ’s body and blood at the first Holy Communion. Our reproduction is of the first group and shares elements with many historic icons of this type while not directly copying any of them.
Christ is presented reclining on a Byzantine cushion, since the Gospel account describes him "reclining at table" with the twelve (Matthew 26:20). They all were "reclining," but ancient icons as well as this one show everyone else seated—probably to save space. Jesus is shown with his left hand holding a scroll signifying the Sacred Word of God and his right hand raised in blessing. 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 arrangement of fingers on his right hand raised in blessing is significant, spelling out the Greek shortened form of his name, "IC XC." The index finger is straight, forming the "I," the middle and little fingers are curved into "C" shapes, and the thumb and ring finger cross slightly to form the "X." 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." On the background is written "IC XC" in red so that no one will misunderstand that this person is the Lord. Not all of the figures around the table are identified with specific apostles, even by the artist. Immediately to Jesus’ left and leaning close to him is John, "the one whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23). Next to John is Peter, his hand raised to proclaim his loyalty. Judas Iscariot is the man in a dark robe reaching for the dish (Matthew 26:23). Andrew, Peter’s brother, is the one with curly hair and beard at the opposite end of the table from Jesus. Thomas and Philip are the two young, beardless men in the foreground. Icons are meant to represent spiritual rather than physical reality. There are no shadows or consistent highlights in this image. Each saint shines with his own Divine light. Architectural features are sketched in simplified, almost abstract ways to prevent distraction from the people and their actions. Inverse perspective, (drawing nearer features smaller rather than larger), is used to draw the viewer into the scene.