Object ID
2008.37.52
Object Name
Block, Printing
Material
Lead; Wood
Object Entities
Damianos, John (is related to)
K. Kaloudis, Rev. (is related to)
Object Description
Rectangular wood and cast lead printing block. The print image has two male figures clothed in robes and seated on clouds. The figure on the right appears to be younger with a short beard and long hair. The right-hand figure is holding an open book in one hand and making a hand gesture with the other. The figure seated on the left appears older with a longer beard. He is holding a sceptre in his left hand, while reaching out with is right hand. Each figure has a halo with the capitalized Greek letters Omicron, Omega, and Nu within the halos. At the top-center, emerging from a cloud is a dove with spread wings. Rays of light are emanating from the dove's mouth and shining upon both figures.
Origin
Donated by John Damianos. The printing block was used in a linotype printing machine. Linotype presses allowed for the casting of entire lines to be printed at a time. Linotype printing was eventually succeeded by lithograph printing and computer typesetting during the 1960's and 1970's. This printing block was used by the Chicago-based, Greek Art Printing Company, which was founded in 1914. The print image was used for the printing of letterhead for the Parish Life newsletter that was published and distributed by Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of 742 South Ada Street, Chicago. Holy Trinity was established in 1897 as the first Greek Orthodox parish in the Midwest. The visual elements in the print image each have symbolic meaning. The placing of the figures among the clouds signifies their place in Heaven. Jesus is seated at the "right hand of the Father" as it is told in Scripture. Jesus holding an open book signifies Jesus the Teacher. The hand gesture Jesus is making with his right hand symbolizes the abbreviation ICXC, which are the first and last letters of the Greek name for Jesus Christ. The extended little finger forms the I. The curved ring finger forms the first C. The crossed middle and pointer fingers form the X. And the curved thumb forms the last C. The abbreviation, and therefore the gesture of the abbreviation, also symbolizes Jesus being the "Alpha and the Omega," i.e. "the first and the last," because the abbreviation is formed by the first and last letters of each word in the Greek translation of "Jesus Christ." The sceptre that God holds in his left hand signifies his supreme power. The placement of the Omicron, Omega and Nu characters in the halo's of God and Jesus is most commonly translated as "He who is." Therefore, "He who is God" and "He who is Jesus Christ." The dove represents the Holy Spirit. The dove is commonly shown casting light upon both Jesus and God as a representation of the Holy Spirit making it possible for humans to know Jesus and God. The idea of the Holy Spirit making God and Jesus known to humans is part of a common interpretation of the Bible in which the Holy Spirit is believed to have preceeded God and Christ. The placement of the dove above and between God and Jesus, in this case, as well as the casting of the light, forms a triangle between the three members of the trinity. Triangles are commonly used in icons as basic symbols of the Holy Trinity.
Rights and Reproduction
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Citation
Block, Printing, Greek Art Printing Company Artifact Collection, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/9966. Accessed 01/16/22.