Inseparable from the liturgical tradition, religious art is seen by Orthodox Christians as a form of pictorial confession of faith and a channel of religious experience. Because the icons provide a direct personal contact with the holy persons represented on them, these images should be objects of veneration, in either a public or private setting, and were even believed to have the ability to heal.
This large icon depicts various celebrated moments from the life of Christ as well as other Old Testament scenes that prefigure his life. The composition is arranged around a central panel divided horizontally representing the resurrection of Christ and his descent into Hell. Two vertical rows of four saints frame this panel on both its sides. This segment is in turn framed by a dozen different scenes representing events honored by church feasts: among them are the Annunciation, the Presentation in the Temple, the Baptism of Christ, Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, and the Old Testament Trinity Prefiguring the Incarnation. A few lines of Cyrillic text have been painted onto the top of the golden border. This icon tells the story of Christ through pictures. This icon would have been a great spiritual aid to illiterates who would only know the Bible through sermon. The Bible here has been translated pictorially, a language comprehensible to all who can see. Thus the influence of the words of Christ could be spread further to new reaches of the population, specifically the poor and uneducated, those Christ most willingly served.