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Platytera ton Ouranon

  I just finished painting the Most Holy Theotokos (Mother of God) and Ever-Virgin Mary "Platytera ton Ouranon" ("More Spacious than the Heavens)" at Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church, Urbana, IL, USA. The title "Platytera ton Ouranon" ("More Spacious than the Heavens)" refers to the paradoxical mystery in which our God, who created the universe, whom the cosmos cannot contain, was contained with the Virgin's Womb as He became Man in His incarnation.  The traditional placement of this icon in the Sanctuary (i.e. the Holy of Holies) calls to mind the fulfillment of the Old Testament shadows. The Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and Temple of old held the Ark of the Covenant, overshadowed by images of Cherubim. In the fullness, we see the God-Man Jesus Christ Emmanuel ("God with us") enthroned in the Living Ark and the Living Temple, who is His Mother, the Theotokos. Angels overshadow the living Ark with their wings as they kneel in awe

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