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ReligionChristianityThe All-Seeing Eye of God

The All-Seeing Eye of God

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The All-Seeing Eye of God is a symbolic and allegorical composition based on the words of Scripture about the vigilant all-seeing and all-knowing Christ

From the end of the 18th – the first half of the 19th century the image of the All-Seeing Eye, inscribed in a triangle, appeared in the frescoes of the Orthodox Churches. Later in Russian iconography, mainly among the Old Believers, the icon “The All-Seeing Eye of God” is found.


This icon is a symbolic and allegorical composition based on the words of the Holy Scriptures about the vigilant omniscient and omniscient Christ. The idea of ​​the icon goes back to the words of the Bible: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear Him and trust in His mercy” (Ps. 32:18).

The composition of such icons is based on the repeating circular motif. In the central circle, Jesus Christ is depicted in the iconographic image of the Savior Emmanuel with a blessing gesture. 4 rays are emitted diagonally from this circle. At the top there are 4 small circles, inside which there are allegorical symbols of the evangelists (see tetramorph) or less often images of the evangelists themselves.

In the segments of the next round are fragments of a human face – eyes, nose and lips (“mouth”). Above it on the central axis is depicted the Virgin with raised hands (Oranta).

The next circle is green or red, it can represent the sky (sometimes starry). Behind it – dark blue or red, in it on the sides and bottom are depicted seraphim or angels with scrolls. Above it, along the central axis, is a circle crossed at the bottom, which depicts “Heaven in Heaven”, in which are written seraphim surrounding God the Father (Savaot) with a gesture of blessing. From him comes the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove on the head of the Mother of God. The following inscriptions are on the icon:

Around the red face: “The charcoal of Isaiah is manifested, the sun rises from the womb of the Virgin to the lost prudent.”

• Around the green ring: “My soul glorifies the Lord; and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior, seeing the humility of His handmaid ”(Luke 1: 46-48).

• Around the Blue Ring: “Heaven gives the kingdom of Your eyes to the faithful lands to judge them with cherubim glorifying God. Heaven gives glory to God ”(Ps. 49: 6).

• Around Savaot there is an outer ring with the text: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord of hosts is filled with heaven and earth of your glory”

• On the inner ring of the Christmas verse: “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth” (Christmas verse).

Some modern clergy do not approve of the use of such icons. Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev) believes that such icons “are not canonical, do not correlate with any church text and should not be prayed to.”

The pre-Christian meaning of the symbol of the eye (the eye of Chorus, Isis, Ra, the all-seeing eye)

It is believed that the image of the all-seeing eye (eye in a triangle) symbolizes God. But is that so?

The eye (the big eye) is one of the symbols found almost at the very beginning of the oldest of the related texts that have come down to us (texts of the pyramid of Pharaoh Unis in the middle of the third millennium BC).

The fields located in Achet [Great Flood – Nile Spill] are planted with greenery. Unis planted grass on both shores of Achet so that he could bring faience [apparently as a sacrifice] to the big eye of the field.

One of the most famous ancient symbols of the eye is the Egyptian widget, the left eye of the god Horus. This god, by the way, is one of the main “characters” of the texts of the pyramid of Unas. The right eye of Horus in Egyptian mythology symbolizes the sun, the left – the moon, which in turn is one of the important attributes of Isis.

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