This image is in a Catholic hospital in Spokane, WA. I understand the Father/Son/Holy Spirit symbology, the ABBA reference, and the initials of the Christ. But three things in this image I cannot identify:

  • The dove/Holy Spirit in the circle/sphere(s)
  • The winged faces on the left and right of the image
  • The winged circle at the foot of the throne.

What do these parts of this image symbolize?

Religious icon painting


The painting most probably comes from Byzantine Tradition as we can see the use of gold a well-known attritube of most of the Orthodox artist in expressing their views or faith.

The symbol ICXC in the middle of the painting with overline make certainty that this artwork belong to Eastern or Byzantine Tradition and there's no Muslim iconography here as it would be an obvious contradiction to their upheld Tradition.

"In Eastern Christian tradition, the monogram ΙϹΧϹ (with Overline indicating scribal abbreviation) is used for Ἰησοῦς Χριστός in both Greek and Cyrillic tradition." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christogram

The artwork depicted the five (5) characters who had the important role in the Drama of Man's Salvation.

  1. Abba Father the source of Authority & Graces.

  2. The Begotten Son Jesus the source of the Holy Eucharist

  3. And the Holy Spirit in the form of the dove, the source of Sanctification the giver of Life.

  4. Plus, I saw the Ark of the Covenant meaning Mary the chosen Woman from eternity is also depicted here and we will elaborate below as part of the hidden character here.

  5. In addition, Lucifer is also depicted here below the Throne of God as wing angel in a circle form signifying resemblance to God's likeness in power.

Note : Both the foot of the Father and the Son was shown by the artist in the same color tone & sandals meaning both of them had set their foot on their creation.

The painting title can be name as " The Abba Father Divine Plan of Salvation"

Further deciphering the image we can describe them as follows;

  1. The Abba Father wears a white garment signifying clothe in Holiness or Light. His left hand contain the written Divine Plan for the Salvation of Mankind and the right hand raise in a familiar hand symbol of Jesus having the 2 fingers, others interpret this as 2,000 years, meaning only the Abba Father knows the hour. The Abba Father although He is the one seated on the Throne His halo is represented by a lot of triangle formation representing the Wisdom of the Holy Trinity.

  2. Jesus the Begotten Son is clothe in gold representing purity and not clothe with the Light or Holiness like the Abba Father as Jesus will come in the form of man devoid of Majesty and Glory but will be born sinless or pure. Noticed the artist emphasis of the Abba Father and the Begotten Son had the same color tone or body essence meaning same substance or nature. Jesus halo represented the symbol of Cross signifying His Redemptive mission was already foreordained in Eternity before He came into this world.The "Way of the Cross"(Genesis 1:1).Noticed also the Hand of Jesus holding a white circle, a symbol that represents the Holy Eucharist that will be the source of Eternal Life in John Gospel Chapter 6 Bread of Life discourse.

  3. The Holy Spirit was represented by a dove like when it came down to Jesus to dwell with Him in the Baptism in the river Jordan. The halo of the dove is represented with gold meaning His Holiness is the same nature with the Father and the Son depicted in their bodies but the Holy Spirit is white dove representing that She was clothe with the Holiness or Light same as the Abba Father. Since the white dove has no body, how can She manifest Her existence on earth? The mystery was answered by the blue & white colored circle and will interpret it below in the hidden character title.

Hidden Characters :

  1. The Hidden Character and symbols here is the Ark of the Covenant expressed by the artist by putting the two wings cherub on both side. This is supported by Jesus hands on the white circle representing the manna or the Holy Eucharist in the New Testament. Mary role & character was hidden here in the form of the blue circle as we know Tradition called Mary the Lady in Blue and the white dove was inside the blue circle meaning Mary the Lady in Blue was indwelt by the Holy Spirit. St.Kolbe called this "quasi-incarnate" in comparison to Jesus which is known as the Incarnated Logos. The white circle that the hands of Jesus holds symbolizing He is the one offering the sacrifice but it is connected to the blue circle as the Mary is the Mother of the Eucharist the flesh or "body & blood" of Jesus comes from Mary."

  2. Lucifer is included here, the artist depicted Lucifer below the Throne as wing angel in circle signifying Lucifer perfection of beauty among the Heavenly Angels and likeness of power to God. Lucifer was "anointed" by God to guard the Holy Mountain or the Throne of God. (Ezekiel 28:14-ff) described Lucifer perfection that made him feel that he is like God. But Lucifer only bear the Light of God or was "anointed" to guard the Throne of God. Lucifer is only a cherub but in Book of Ezekiel, Lucifer was able to surpass the power of Seraphim thru his anointing able to walk in the fiery stones. Seraphim is known as the fiery angels the burning ones that is much closer to God's Throne compare to Lucifer which is only a cherub.

NOTE: The artist colored the circled wing angel below the Throne brown denoting earthly color. Biblically, Lucifer after his fall was cast down to earthly realm. A color contrast with the color of wing cherub on left & right side is artist way of conveying the difference of Angelic glory.And size difference denotes wing cherub was glorified and Lucifer shrink in size denotes demotion.

In closing, the artist perfectly describes what is the "Divine Plan of God"existed in eternity represented by three concentric circles symbolizing the Holy Trinity inside the Third Heaven. We can see that the artist included the Ark of the Covenant here plus Lucifer being the bearer of God's Light or guardian of God's Throne in the Holy Mountain. The Five Characters (Abba Father, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit the "another Advocate & Spirit of Truth, Mary the Theotokos and Lucifer which is created good and bestowed with perfect gifts & anointing) are the main actors in the Drama of Man's Salvation.

  • Noticed how genius the artist is representing the Ark of the Covenant by Jesus hands the High Priest on the white circle representing the Eucharist with both cherub on left & right side. Also, the artist enclosed the dove on the blue circle to depict Mary the Lady in Blue was indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The wing circle angel is Lucifer you can find many articles & bible passages how Lucifer a cherub was described sometimes 4 wings and with 4 faces. But circled wings denotes likeness in God and it comes when God "anointed" Lucifer to guard the Holy Mountain or the Throne of God. Read Ezekiel 28 – marian agustin Mar 21 '19 at 2:03
  • Can you provide a link that illustrates the fact that Lucifer is depicted below the throne of the Most Holy Trinity? Ezekiel 28:14-ff speaks only of the Holy Mountain of God and not the Throne of God as claimed in your answer. Satan or Lucifer as a rebellious angel would not be able to guard the Throne of God. That would presume that he remained good and was admitted into Heaven. Your imagery needs to be supported by proper sources. – Ken Graham Mar 21 '19 at 7:09
  • @KenGraham ""Lucifer" means "Light-Bringer" or "Day Star." Ezekiel calls him "the anointed cherub who covers," which means he was one of the chief angels whose wings covered God's throne in heaven."bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/BS/k/511/… Remember the artist depicted a painting before the Fall of Lucifer, the artwork is an image of Divine Plan only. – marian agustin Mar 21 '19 at 12:34
  • The passage deals with an unusual being of great beauty who was in the Garden of Eden. How John W. Ritenbaugh of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) goes from the Mountain of God to the Throne of God is puzzling. Once again Lucifer could not have been at the throne of God prior to his fall. That would mean he saw the beatific vision which is reserved for the good angels and the saints. His commentary is neither Catholic nor Orthodox. The icon is one of the Sacred Trinity in Heaven! – Ken Graham Mar 21 '19 at 14:43
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    This is a very detailed answer, but do you have any references for some of your statements? – Dan Gayle Mar 21 '19 at 18:29

The following icon is quite modern in several respects. Its' main focus is on the mystery of the Holy Trinity.

Light, radiance and grace are in the Trinity and from the Trinity

The Holy Trinity

First of all, I would like to mention that in iconography the colour gold represents the presence of God.

This icon as I have already stated is about the Most Holy Trinity, yet there are some unique features to it.

  • The dove in the mists of circles is the Holy Spirit. The circle here represents eternity. The dove also has a golden halo.
  • The winged faces on the left and right of the image are a little more difficult to interpret here. But they seem to represent two of the biblical Cherubim as both found in the presence of the Arc of the Covenant and in the Book of Ezekiel.
  • The winged circle at the foot of the throne is the most difficult part to understand in it's symbolism. Angels are the purest expression of winged spirits. For some reason this particular artist incorporated some Islamic iconography into this image. The winged circle at the foot of the throne are the Bearers of the Throne

Bearers of the Throne or ḥamlat al-arsh are a group of angels in Islam. The Quran mentions them in Quran 40:7 and Quran 69:17. In Islamic traditions, they are often portrayed in zoomorphic forms. They are described as resembling different creatures: An eagle, a bull, a lion and a human. They would intercede with the creature that corresponds to their form. Other hadiths describes them with six wings and four faces. The portrayal of these angels is comparable to the Seraphim in the Book of Revelation. These four angels are also held to be created from different elements: One from light, one from fire, one from water and one from mercy.

The four supporters (angels) of the celestial throne

The four supporters (angels) of the celestial throne

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    How can you put a link to Quran when the artist was conveying from Byzantine tradition? At least the bible would be a good source if you don't have a link to Byzantine tradition but to include Quran would undermine the artist artwork, don't you agree? – marian agustin Mar 21 '19 at 22:19
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    can you put the link that indicate the artist was from Muslim/Christian country and that his intention was to include Quran imagery in his artwork? or it's just your personal assertion? I thought Quran and Byzantine Tradition contradicted in faith. Ecumenism was only drafted in 1960's but this artwork is way older.I disagree that was the artist intention. perhaps you put a wrong link to quran iconography on circle wing angel. – marian agustin Mar 21 '19 at 23:27
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    I agree, the references to Islamic sources about angels is ridiculous and irrelevant. – Sola Gratia Mar 22 '19 at 0:49
  • @Ken Graham Added observation on winged circle. Have you notice that the artist purposely not depicted the image in full while the halo of the Abba Father covers the edge of the frame. What is the meaning of that? Perhaps the artist depicted a fallen angel small in size meaning demoted and possessed earthly colors and cast down. Have you notice it? ; even the artist cast down Lucifer from the frame. Don't you think it would be better to delete your link answer to Quran to respect the artist? – marian agustin Mar 24 '19 at 4:40

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