The Noble Joseph having taken your Most Pure Body down from the Cross, wrapped it in a clean shroud and anointed it with fragrant spices and laid it in a new tomb.
But on the third day You arose, O Lord, granting the world great mercy.
Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin (the ruling council of the Jews). He was a secret believer after visiting Jesus by night with Nicodemus. (John 3) The two of them removed Christ’s body from the Cross and laid it in Joseph’s new tomb. (Matt. 27:57; John 19:38) For this public act of faith, the Jews fettered him and put him in prison. The resurrected Lord appeared to him there to confirm and encourage his faith. The Jews released Joseph, but banished him from Judea, driving him out. St. Joseph travelled to the ends of the earth to preach the Gospel. He spent some time with Apostle Philip in Europe, then he went to England. There, he was exiled to an island, where he fell asleep in the Lord after a long and fruitful ministry. He is depicted here with the burial cloth or epitaphios draped over his shoulder and arm.
St. Joseph is my patron saint. It was at Lamentations Matins of Great Friday that each myself, my wife and our four daughters each were drawn to the Holy Orthodox Church. It was over the course of several years, but particularly that service. I dare you to come and see if you don’t become Orthodox.
This icon is by the hand of Ilya Baladvadzhe. It belongs to C. Joseph Coulter, the owner of “Come and See” Icons, Books & Art and this blog. The inscription is in Georgian.
Copyrighted icon courtesy of “Come and See” Icons, Books & Art, www.comeandseeicons.com.