One of the famous 16th century Stavronikita Festal set of icons, this icon depicts Holy Pentecost, fifty days after Christ’s Resurrection, when He sent the Holy Spirit in the form of flames of fire upon the Disciples again gathered in the upper room in Jeru-salem. The center place is empty, signifying that Christ is always the leader and head of the Church. By anticipation, St. Paul is seen here set among the Disciples. Below is a figure of the kings of this world still in darkness, while the Disciples are illumined above. We receive this grace too, through the Apostles, at our chrismation.
The monk Theophanes the Cretan painted this set of icons on the iconostasis, or icon screen which separates the Bema, or sacred Altar, from the body of the Church, or Nave, where the Faithful stand for Divine Liturgy and other liturgical services. The set shows many of the most important events in the life of Jesus and the Church in its early and formative stage. This icon is the 14th in that set. Theophanes’ icons are considered masterpieces of iconographic art, still adorn the church at Stavronikita Monastery on Mount Athos, and show marvelous Cretan post-Byzantine form.