Jesus Tree of Life Icon
This Christian Orthodox icon “Jesus Tree of Life” first appeared in the 15th century. Christ sits as though He is enthroned at the bifurcation point of the vine’s branches. He has an open Gospel on His knees. His arms are raised high giving a benediction with both hands. Branching out from the trunk of the vine are twelve shoots where the Apostles sit on the branches. Peter and Paul are closest to Christ. They hold either a book or a scroll. Hand-painted in Greece.
It takes its name from John 15:5, and in fact that is the text generally shown in the open Gospels held by Jesus in examples of this type:
Εγω ειμι η αμπελος υμεις τα κληματα ο μενων εν εμοι καγω εν αυτω ουτος φερει καρπον πολυν οτι χωρις εμου ου δυνασθε ποιειν ουδεν
“I am the vine, you the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.”
In Russia the “Ampelos” type is called Лоза Истинная — Loza Istinnaya — “The True Vine,” or “Christ the True Vine.” It is also sometimes called Древо Жизни — Drevo Zhizni — “The Tree of Life.”
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