Saint Justinian the Great reigned as Byzantine emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, tens of thousands of pagans were baptized into Christ and the pagan schools of Athens were closed. Some ninety missionary churches were built to evangelize and teach the new converts. Under his direction, the Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai and the Church of the Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) in Constantinople were built. In this icon, he holds the Great Church as an offering to Christ.
An educated man himself, Justinian promoted the education of clergy and fought the heresies of Origen and revived Nestorianism. The saint added the hymn "Only-begotten Son and Word of God" to the Divine Liturgy, which to this day is sung after the Second Antiphon. He called the Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553, affirming the Fourth Council and condemning Origen.
Saint Justinian promoted the idea of "symphonia" between the Church and State, the two working together in symphony, each in their competent realm, for the good of society and the people. This became the model of all Orthodox monarchies which would follow. He is commemorated on November 14.
This beautiful icon is painted by husband and wife iconographers Roman and Anna Davidovskiy. More of their icons can be found here.
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