As a Youth Director, I find myself often using Orthodox icons as a main focus when teaching. Examples include our Church School/Sunday School lessons for our High School Juniors and Seniors, Family Night Program Teen Discussion Series, JOY Club activities, and OCF & YAM lessons.
I usually prepare hand-outs with a printed copy of an Orthodox icon, whether it be a lesson on a Feast in the Life of the Church, Life of an Orthodox Saint, or parables and events during the Life of Christ and His Ministry. While the use of an icon is proposed as one aspect of the lesson; it seems to take on a life of its own when I'm teaching. During our Church School lessons, the teens main questions or comments relate to the icon shown in class or on our hand-outs.
One such lesson dealt with the Great Feast of Theophany (Baptism of our Lord). I was holding an icon of Theophany and one of my teens asked "who/what are the figures at the bottom in the water under Jesus?" Turning the icon in my hand for a better look, I had a genius moment thinking to myself: I HAVE NO IDEA!
|Theophany of our Lord|
The Icon of the Nativity of our Lord:
|Nativity of our Lord|
The Icon of Ascension:
|Ascension of our Lord|
This icon is truly a "double icon" meaning that it depicts two events: the Ascension and also the Second & Glorious Coming of our Lord. Our clue to this meaning is the fact that one man who is depicted was not actually present at the Ascension. In the lower right, up front of the icon is the Apostle Paul (dressed in blue and red next to the Theotokos). We know from Scriptures that St Paul was not part of Jesus' following during His earthly ministry, but converted later on in the Early Church.
Icons of Martyr Saints: