Nativity icon

XIXe siècle


Marseilles, France

This icon is a symbol of devotion in the Melchite faith. You can see the Nativity, where Baby Jesus is bathed in the light of the star shooting out of the Eye of God, a symbol that appeared in the 17th century. The Melchite Church is a Near Eastern Christian Church whose patriarch lives in Damas, Syria. Its clergy and faithful alike are mainly Arabs and Arabic speakers, as witnessed by the writing at the top. The term “melchite” refers to the Monophysite crisis during the Council of Chalcedon in 451: at that point, the two natures of Christ (human and divine) were officially recognized by imperial doctrine. The Melchites were the ones who followed the orthodoxy of the Byzantine emperor, called “king” in Greek (basileus) and in Syrian (melek). This icon bears the characteristic marks of the Jerusalem School in the 19th century: a pastel colour palette, simple style, preference for decorations and edges with colourful stripes.


  • Title: Nativity icon
  • Date Created: XIXe siècle
  • Location: Jerusalem
  • Physical Dimensions: 36 x 47,5 cm
  • Type: Gilded, painted wood

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