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 icons provide direct personal contact with the holy persons represented on them, these images were objects of veneration, in either a public or private setting, and were even believed to have the ability to heal.
The majority of this icon is covered in a gilded brass oklad, a treatment traditionally reserved for only the most sacred icons. The brass has been molded in a technique known by the French term repoussé to reproduce the folds of his drapery as well as the mass of the book he holds. Only the painted body of Christ has not been covered. This adds a tremendous softness and warm to his flesh. Although he is depicted as Christ Pantocrator, the awesome ruler of the universe, there is also something quite human and sympathetic in his appearance. He gazes at us with huge chestnut eyes, holding the Bible in one hand and forming a sign of benediction in the other. He is a shepherd guiding the prayers of his flock of followers towards heaven. This is a powerful, touching icon. We are naturally drawn to the figure of Christ, towards his eyes, and he welcomes us. He is both simultaneously divine and human. We naturally identify with his humanity and aspire towards his divinity. Through proper veneration, this icon will bring the worshipper that much closer toward heaven and God.