THE SIX DAYS (Nos. 160, 161)('Shestodnyev')
The subject of the Six Days is one the 'mystical and didactic themes', (see Kondakov, The Russian Icon, trl. Minns, Oxford, 1927, p. 101) introduced into the Russian iconographical canon in the late 15th century. The idea was of interest to theologians from as early as St. Basil the Great in the 4th century who wrote a well- known series of nine sermons on the subject. The idea is to illustrate the liturgical week with each day illustrated by its appropriate focus of prayer and contemplation: (in the top row) for Sunday the Resurrection; Monday the Assembly (Synaxis) of the Archangels; Tuesday, the Beheading of John the Baptist; Wednesday, the Annunciation. In the next row: Thursday, Christ washing the Feet of the Apostles; Friday, the Crucifixion. For the seventh day, the Sabbath, the composition extends over all the lower part of the image where we see the Righteous saved in Paradise. In the centre Christ Enthroned (or the Trinity) surrounded by angels. Below we see rows of holy people: bishops, holy women, martyrs, apostles and monks.