2.129 Sts Stephen and Paul of Xeropotamou
ca. mid-18th c.
Wood, egg tempera, 66 x 48 cm
The two saints in full-length and frontal stand against a gold field, their feet resting on a dark blue ground. In the upper part of the icon, Christ in bust in the semicircle of heaven blesses them with both hands.
St Stephen, the first Christian martyr, is on the left, wearing a deacon's vestments and holding a censer in one hand and a Gospel in the other. St Paul on the right is beardless, in accordance with the tradition (Papachrysanthou 1992, p. 189 n. 15), and wears a monastic habit, holding a cross in one hand and a closed scroll in the other. Their haloes, like the frame of the icon, are filled in with dotted ornamentation, a typical feature of Athonite technique (Chatzidakis 1972 (4), p. 123).
The saints' names are inscribed in red lettering: 'St Stephen' and 'St Paul of Xeropotamou'. The icon was painted in an Athonite workshop in the eighteenth century and adheres closely to the tradition, although the facial features of the two figures have become stereotyped, dry, and stylised.