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  1. […] Dec 24th 7:44 amclick to expand…The Ass and The Ox in The Nativity Icon http://www.orthodoxartsjournal.org/why-an-ass-and-an-ox-in-the-nativity-icon/Monday, Dec 24th 7:41 amclick to expand…Silent Night(s) – A History […]

  2. Very interesting. I never thought to wonder about this before.

    1. Thank you, Sabrina. I hope that it is helpful.

  3. amy

    In one of the minor gospels there is also mention of an old woman/widow dressed in black who appears at the Nativity foreseeing Jesus’ future. I don’t know what the oldest Nativity scene is…..

    1. Jonathan Pageau

      There are many details in apocryphal stories, yet it seems the Church in its wisdom has naturally gravitated to those traditions, those details that lead us to a deeper understanding of Christ. And so although I mention the ass and ox, each extra Biblical detail in the icon is there to emphasize a Christological point of theology. For example, Ouspensky in his “Meaning of Icons” discusses the position of the Theotokos as emphasizing the humanity or divinity of Christ.

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