2.106 The First Ecumenical Council
Wood, egg tempera, 31 x 23.7 cm
By the hand of Metrophanis, monk
The icon depicts the Church Fathers who took part in 'The Holy and Ecumenical First Council' and an open scroll in the foreground with part of the Symbol of Faith. In the centre stands Constantine the Great, who participated in the Council's work. Behind him can be distinguished the figures of the Sts Nicholas, Spyridon and others. The text is interrupted at the phrase '... and in one Lord Jesus Christ', while farther down, essentially on the lower border, are the date and iconographer's signature: ΧΕΙΡ ΜΗΤΡΟΦΑΝΟΥC ΜΟΝΑΧΟΥ 1770 (by the hand of Metrophanis, monk 1770).
The iconographic scheme followed is the usual Athonite one, which, on the basis of the extant examples, seems to have been created on Mount Athos. The model for this scheme, with its frontal standing saints, is the All Saints' icon, as we know it from manuscript illumination and monumental art (Walter 1991-2, p. 216). The scroll unfurled in front of the figures goes back at least to the early sixteenth century in manuscript miniatures (Vatopedi Cod. no. 483; Thesauroi 1991, pp. 248-9, figs. 27-8), although even in Byzantine times occur representations of Ecumenical Councils with the Church Fathers standing and holding open scrolls (Orlandos 1970, pp. 243-53, pl. 24).