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Jesus Christ: The Reclining Lion of Judah


“Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?” – Genesis 49:9
“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” – Isaiah 11:10
“The lion hath roared, who will not fear?” – Amos 3:8
“And one of the elders saith unto me, ‘Weep not: behold, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.'” – Revelation 5:5




In these icons we see the Christ Child not sitting or lying down, but reclining (anapeson) to show that He is not a mere man, but God in human flesh. It depicts simultaneously the Divine and human natures of Christ. The youth of the Son of Man is depicted in his beardless face, while He shows features of adulthood to portray that He is the eternal Son of God. His halo further reveals His Divinity, wherein is inscribed the words “I Am”, to show that He is the eternal God and long-awaited Messiah. The prophetic scroll in his left hand further illustrates that He is the one of whom it was foretold that He shall redeem the Children of Israel and bring Peace on Earth. He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, at peace when He reclines, but fearsome when He roars.


anapeson last


Kontakion of St. Romanos for Christmas
Today the Virgin gives birth to the incomprehensible One; and the earth offers a cave to the unapproachable One; angels and shepherds glorify Him; the wisemen journey with a star; since for our sakes is born the eternal God, as a little Child.