Art Notes: Coptic Icon of Pentecost

Authored by Dr. Lionel Gracey in Issue #29.2 of The Sower

In this issue we continue our study of the artwork in The Compendium, and consider the Coptic "Icon of Pentecost" to be found at the beginning of Part four on ‘Christian Prayer’. The Coptic Church is the Christian Church in Egypt. Christianity was brought to Egypt by the Evangelist, St. Mark, the first bishop of Alexandria. Later the Coptic Church became separated from Rome but in 1741, the Coptic bishop, Athanasius, became reconciled to the Catholic Church and formed the Coptic Catholic Church in full communion with Rome. This Church has survived and flourished, though it comprises only a tiny minority in a largely Muslim country.

Pentecost (Greek: fiftieth day) was originally the name given to the Jewish Feast of Weeks, when the first fruits of the harvest were offered to the Lord. It took place fifty days after the Passover. (Deut.16:9). For Christians, however, Pentecost is the Feast that marks the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles, fifty days after Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday. The event is described in Acts 2: 1-41.

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