While the origins of Christian art may be traced, in a general way, to the pictures of the Catacombs, principles of Icon painting are not seen here. The first instance of a Christian icon is traced to the story of the image created by Christ Himself. The story is told of an ancient King Abgar of Osroene, who was dying of leprosy and sent a message begging Jesus to visit him. According to the story, Christ created an image of himself by pressing his face on a cloth. Apparently, this image remained in Edessa until the tenth century, when it was taken to Constantinople. After the destruction of the city in 1204CE, it disappeared.10 This is called the image “made without human hands” or the “holy face” or the Acheiropoietos.11 While there is virtually no physical evidence to support this event, it is considered a reliable story of the origin of the icon of Christ.
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