A very striking contemporary icon, painted in 1992 by the Priest-monk Andrei. It resides in the Optina Elders Chapel at the Russian Holy Trinity Monastery near Jordanville, New York. This icon shows stylization in both Russian and Byzantine techniques and reveals how even today there are very fine icons still being produced, and now even in America.
Traditionally there are two positions for Christ's right hand when giving a blessing: 1) when the fingers form the Greek letters "IC XC" which is an abbreviation for Jesus Christ and is the position that Orthodox priests and bishops give liturgical blessings, and 2) as is shown in this icon, when the lower two fingers come together with the thumb representing the Holy Trinity and the upper two fingers are together representing Christ's two Natures, one upright representing His Divinity, one bent representing His Humanity. The Lord holds His Gospel to show us the verbal icon of His Life and His Teachings that we both venerate in church, and must more importantly venerate in our life by following His example to truly live an outward and inward Christian life.