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Icon of Pilate Washed His Hands – F115

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One of a series of wall paintings in fresco at Stavronikita Monastery on Mount Athos painted by the master iconographer Theophanes the Cretan in the mid 16th century, this icon shows the Lord standing before Pilate at His judgment and condemnation by the Roman civil authorities at the jealously and instigation of the Jewish religious leaders of Israel.  Christ challenges all authority, whether civil or religious, to reflect and consider where their authority actually comes from.  This can be unpleasant for most of us on earth, for if all authority comes from God, as Christ Himself told Pilate just before this judgement, then we are judged each time we exercise it, whether it conforms to God and His Wisdom or not.

Pilate was weak and thought that he could avoid his own responsibility by publically washing his hands before the multitude saying he was blameless of the blood of this innocent man, yet he caved into their wishes, sent Christ to die a painful death, and was responsible.  The Jewish High Priest and his family, the Sanhedrin, and the vocal multitude that cried out for His Crucifixion were responsible, too.  May God help us not follow these bad examples.

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Great & Holy Friday




Stavronikita Monastery, Mt. Athos, Greece


Theophanes the Cretan


16th c. (Mid)