Brother Gabriel of Philetheou, Crucifix with Cherubim and Seraphim
Designed for individual devotion, this delicately carved Crucifix depicts Christ dead on the cross, flanked by bust-length figures of Mary and John the Evangelist who openly express their grief. The skull at the base of the Cross evokes the mount of Golgotha in Jerusalem, the “place of the skull”, where Christ was Crucified. Traditionally this is also associated with the burial place of Adam, and Christ is said to be the new Adam who restores Paradise and triumphs over death. The theme of ultimate victory over death is conveyed by the celestial cherubim and seraphim who carry the cross aloft. This message is reinforced on the back of the cross which is inscribed “Iesous Christos, Nika” or “Jesus Christ, conquers.” The association of one holy mountain with another is conveyed here by the depiction of Mount Athos (inscribed “Holy Mountain” surmounted by a cross.