Georgios Klontzas: All Creation rejoices in thee…(16th century)


An icon made by the Greek artist Georgios Klontzas (1530-1608). This icon represents the hymn "All Creation rejoices in thee…". This hymn was composed by the Syrian monk Saint John of Damascus (A.D. 675/675-749) and is used in the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great during the 'Liturgy of the Faithful':

All of Creation rejoices in thee, O full of grace:
the angels in heaven and the race of men,
O sanctified temple and spiritual paradise,
the glory of virgins, of whom God was incarnate
and became a child, our God before the ages.
He made thy body into a throne,
and thy womb more spacious than the heavens.
All of creation rejoices in thee, O full of grace:
Glory be to thee.

Central in the icon is the virgin Mary with the Christ child, sitting on a throne which is supported by several seraphim (the highest angelic class). Around her and concentric circles which is filled with Thrones (another angelic class), cherubs, other angels, the zodiac, scenes from the passion of Christ, scenes from Genesis. At the bottom is a depiction of Jerusalem and several groups of saints. The entire universe and human race praises Mary for her role in the Incarnation (the Christian doctrine that God became flesh and became a man in the form of Jesus). Icon from the late 16th century.

The hymn itself (youtube link): choir of St. Symeon Orthodox Church in Birmingham, Alabama