The current exhibition The Mysterious Face of Jesus Christ is the fifth in a row after the exhibitions dedicated to the themes of The Old Testament Prophets, The Church Feasts, The Icons of the Mother of God, and Wisdom Hidden in Icons. This catalogue as well as the entire exhibition is the result of the efforts of a number of volunteers with a passion for icons, for which we express our sincere gratitude.
There are 25 artistically and historically valuable icons on display. Most of them are exhibited in Slovakia for the first time. There are Russian and Greek icons, one Romanian, Macedonian, and Albanian icon, and one icon from Mount Athos among the exhibits. They date from the nineteenth to the end of the sixteenth century. The most complex in terms of composition and the largest icon of all is the Russian icon The Last Judgment. The icon The image of the Saviour not created with the help of hands from the Belarusian school Vetka is beautifully written on gold, as well as the Russian icon from the eighteenth century depicting Christ Emanuel. Rare icons include Don't Cry Over Me, Mother; or the icon depicting the Psalm Praise the Lord from heaven. Each icon is beautiful and unique in its own way. The central icon – The Cross – stands out above all.
Icons are works of art that have their roots in early Christianity. The individual icons of the exhibition present Jesus Christ and invite us to contemplate God's love through the mystery of the Incarnation. He is the truth, He is the way to the Father, in Him life is in its fullness. Father Špidlík says the following: “The connection with Christ not only does not limit a person's personality, it does not destroy it, but it strengthens it. Therefore, a view of Jesus is an eternally alive inspiration for one's own life.”
We chose Father Vendelín Javorka and Father Cardinal Tomáš Špidlík as the spiritual patrons of the exhibition. Both were close to the spirituality of the Christian East, which the icons represent. We ask them for intercession at the Saviour for each visitor of the exhibition.
Let us look together at the personal love of God the Father through the mysterious face of Jesus Christ, so that it may become imprinted into our hearts.