Before the egg became closely entwined with the Christian Easter, it was honored during many rite-of-Spring festivals. The Romans, Gauls, Chinese, Egyptians and Persians all cherished the egg as a symbol of the universe, of the earth’s rebirth at springtime. With the advent of Chrisianity the symbolism of the egg changed to represent, not nature’s rebirth, but the rebirth of man.
Christians embraced the egg symbol and likened it to the tomb from which Christ rose. Saint Augustine first described Christ’s Resurrection from the dead as a chick bursting from an egg. This symbolism was enhanced in the Christian East’s celebration of Easter. At the end of the Paschal Liturgy, the faithful exchange paschal greetings and the priest and the faithful present each other with red eggs. Wooden eggs are sometimes suspended from hanging lamps and chandeliers, and often the faithful decorate wooden eggs with icons and hang them from the vigil lights in their homes.
THE FIRST EASTER EGG
According to tradition, Saint Mary Magdalene, who had patrician rank, gained an audience in Rome with the emperor after the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. She denounced Pilate for his handling of Jesus’ trial and then began to talk with Caesar about Jesus’ resurrection. She picked up a hen’s egg from the dinner table to illustrate her point about resurrection. Caesar was unmoved and replied that there was as much chance of a human being returning to life as there was for the egg to turn red. Immediately, the egg miraculously turned red in her hand! It is because of this tradition that Orthodox Christians exchange red eggs at Easter.
OTHER CHRISTIAN TRADITIONS
Eastern Christian legends blended folklore and Christian beliefs and firmly attached the egg to the Easter celebration. A Polish legend tells of when Mary Magdalen went to the sepulchre to anoint the body of Jesus. She had with her a basket of eggs to serve as a repast. When she arrived at the sepulchre and uncovered the eggs, lo, the pure white shells had miraculously taken on a rainbow of colors.
One legend concerns the Virgin Mary. It tells of the time the Blessed Virgin gave eggs to the soldiers at the cross. She entreated them to be less cruel and she wept. Her tears fell upon the eggs, spotting them with dots of brilliant color.
Decorating and coloring eggs for Easter was the custom in England during the Middle Ages. The household accounts of Edward I, for the year 1290, recorded an expenditure of eighteen pence for four hundred and fifty eggs to be gold-leafed and colored for Easter gifts.
PYSANKY – THE UKRAINIAN EASTER EGG
The sets of colorful wooden eggs offered by Monastery Icons were handpainted and engraved in the Ukraine and feature traditional folk and religious symbols and designs.
The most famous decorated Easter eggs were those made by the well-known goldsmith, Peter Carl Faberge. In 1883 the Russian Czar, Alexander, commissioned Faberge to make a special Easter gift for his wife, the Empress Marie.
This special Faberge egg so delighted the Czarina that the Czar promptly ordered the Faberge firm to design further eggs to be delivered every Easter. In later years Nicholas II, Alexander’s son, continued the custom. Fifty-seven eggs were made in all.
|The ideal Easter gifts: hand painted wooden Easter eggs|
|Children’s Easter Egg Set (B31)A delightful Easter gift! Quantity discounts.||Easter Egg Set (305)5 eggs in attractive presentation box. Quantity discounts.||Deluxe Easter Egg Set (170)Hand decorated in the Cloisonne style, attractive presentation box.|
WIN A BYZANTINE STYLE
For over 20 years Monastery Incense has been the most popular incense in thousands of parishes throughtout the USA.
We’d love to hear your story, and what you think is special about our incense.
The winner of the Monastery Incense contest will be announced via email and on our Facebook page. Four runnersup will receive a Monastery Incense Choice Assortment.
Email your story and comments today to
Photos are welcome!
Entry deadline: Tuesday March 18
“The fragrance of Monastery Incense doesn’t sour after it begins as a sweet and full fragrance. It is so well suited for immediate use and lengthy burn…Our friars are delighted with the lovely fragrance filling the sanctuary, and they aren’t overwhelmed with the need to cough, or recite rather than sing, due ot the breathing in of incense.”
Brother Joseph, Ohio
“Our priest and many of our older people were allergic to incense….until we found Monastery Incense. Our priest has reintroduced incense into our services. During Holy Week one lady told me, ‘Those flowers smell so beautiful.’ There were no flowers – that was Monastery Incense she was smelling!”
Deacon Thomas M., Columbus, Ohio
Get FREE Shipping at MonasteryIcons.com until midnight on Friday, January 31st, on all orders over $75
To get Free Shipping on your web orders, use coupon code 40128 when placing your order at MonasteryIcons.com. To get Free Shipping on your phone orders, simply mention this email promotion to the representative when you call 800-729-4952 and they will be happy to apply this discount to your order.
Our featured icon this email is our new St. Francis in the Forest Plaque. The birds and animals trustingly adore the seraphic friar in artist Randy Wollenmann’s dynamic and colorful forest scene. Designed with detailed ornamentation that creates a stained glass effect.
You can order this icon in our Mounted Sizes from 4″ to 24″ tall and in the sames sizes in Unmounted Prints.
The new year is upon us, and 2014 brings new icons and religious gifts!
To preview just a few:
Russian Madonna Egg. A radiantly colorful icon of the Madonna and Child ornamented with gold and silver foil adorns this wooden egg, made in Russia. 4″ high sitting on a wooden stand (total height 6 1/4″”).
Queen of Heaven Icon. During an all-night vigil on the holy mount of Athos in 980, as a group of monks chanted before an icon of the Holy Virgin they were joined by a monk they didn’t recognize. As this monk began to chant a traditional hymn to the Virgin he opened with a new verse the monks had never heard, beginning with “It is truly meet and right to bless thee.” As he chanted to the Mother of God her icon began to shine with light. And so this depiction became known as “Axios Estin” – “It is meet and right.”
Our Lady of Vladimir. Painted around the year 1130 in Constantinople and soon after brought to Russia, this image of the tender embrace of the Divine Child and the Holy Virgin quickly endeared itself to the hearts of the Russian people, who declared her the protectress of Russia.
This new icon from Monastery Icons had been carefully digitally restored to its original beauty.
To see more of these new items, visit our new at Monastery Icons page.