Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Christ Pantocrator at a Young Age

Here is an icon titled, Christ Pantocrator at a Young Age. The Greek word Pantocrator means, Ruler of All. Jesus appears as a young man in this 16th century fresco painted over the altar at the Monastery of Koutloumousiou on Mount Athos. God, being born with the human face of Jesus, has become picturable. 

Jesus seems to be in motion here: on his way, setting out with purpose. He is beautiful and full of life. He is wide awake but serene. His face possesses an inner light. 

Christ's head is large ~ filled with the best human-divine thoughts. His eyes remain wide open to all the world's struggles. His nose, elongated and slender, with arched eyebrows suggests a palm tree offering protection, nourishment and consolation. 

The ears of Jesus are easily detected ~ he will hear my prayer, the expression of my heart-longings, my sorrows and joys, my thanks and praise. The line of Jesus' mouth suggests nothing carnal. Presently his mouth is closed, but he will open it with a word spoken to each of us. I will hear him if I am attentive, receptive and still.

The circle of light around Jesus' head keeps my gaze drawn to his face. The cross inside the nimbus forms the Greek initials for the Divine Name revealed to Moses: The Being. Jesus is the God-Man.

There are lively decorations of green and red within the nimbus too. Divine light radiates from the clothing and even the hair of Jesus. We know the old expression, You are what you eat. We might also say, You are what you look at.

Tomorrow there'll be a prayer here that we might enter before this icon. And of course, as with any prayer, poem or hymn found here, we can expand and adapt it as we are inspired.


  1. I am a follower of you blog Father Stephen. Thanks for all your good posts and advice to us. And I love your icon posts of all. I really see things in different way when you explain them to us.

  2. I see this icon and it reminds me of a time when I felt better connected to the Church.

  3. Maybe a time from your own youth. I'm glad for that connection. The icon is very beautiful and so is our faith when it is lived with a pure and generous love. I send a blessing.

  4. Wonderful! I am looking forward to your icon prayer tomorrow Father Stephen.