Ascending to Christ, Becoming Anthropos - As Depicted in a Fresco at the Sucevita Monastery

2 September 2012

Reading an iconographer’s text, which is an icon, requires mainly a key to understand it and an open heart to accept what is to be revealed after the opening is performed. Knowing perhaps that through the ages the key of understanding the frescoes at the Sucevita monastery might become lost, the iconographer preferred to offer himself the key in deciphering the mystagogy of his paintings. In understanding the Ladder of the divine ascent and its role in transforming one’s heart he depicted the symbolic detail of the Genesis in order to discover the real point of departure in interpreting the Ladder, which is, strangely, not the Genesis itself, but the Crucified and Resurrected Christ. The icon of the Genesis develops westwards ending on the western wall with the scene of the Final Judgement, while the Icon of the Ladder develops eastwards accomplishing itself in the Great Deisis that adorns the altar from outside. In doing so, the iconographer managed to make both the scenes of Creation and of the Ladder to convene in the same point: Christ himself. It is beautiful to see that angle that opens so wide, trying to embrace the entire world, and who has the same point of departure: Christ.