Sophia with forthcominThetokos and John the Baptist. «And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle» (Rev. 12:14). Novgorod, 15 century
The apocalypse announces not only accession of God and the Lamb, but also about the marriage of the Lamb:
"The marriage of the Lamb is come and the wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb". 19:7-9.
Difficulty of interpretation of this text is first of all psychological. Pious believers are afraid to profane the representation about a shrine by not quite pure soul movements which can arise by thought about the marriage.
Some theologians even had thought that distinction of sexes has been created by God only in prevision of the Fall, and in the future life the sex will be subjected to cancellation. Such extreme opinions are rejected by Church, but the precaution is well-founded.
The original sin has lodged in a soul of the man in the same moment when Adam and Eve have refused to trust God on a threshold of marriage life. Since then the sources of a mutual inclination of sexes have become: animal instinct, thirst of pleasures, vanity and love of power – all that destroys the person, separates his from God and conducts to death. False sexuality since ancient times connected with obvious or implicit worship of false gods what the Bible constantly reminds.
Returning of married life to God power has begun with punishment and repentance of Adam and Eve. The major step became the sacrament of circumcision established through Abraham. To this purpose is directed all the Law of Moses; pagans have incentive force to cleaning in form of conscience – this Divine law, "written in their hearts" (Rome. 2:15). Overcoming their sinful bents, ancient righteous men aspired to holy marriage: Jacob and Rachel, Boaz and Ruth, David and Bath-sheba, Solomon and Sulamita.
This tradition of sanctification of marriage was continued by Jesus: the first miracle which He has made –transformation of water into wine on a marriage feast of His pupil Simon from Cana (Ин.2:1-11). Water –a symbol of human vital forces, and this miracle was a prophecy about future transformation of these forces under the influence of Divine Energy.
All centuries-old practice of Christian Church has been also directed to purification and sanctification of married life.
The top of these efforts should be a marriage of the Lamb which cannot take place until there are not worthy participants of marriage feast (Мt.22:2-14).
To save a shrine from dirty thoughts, the theme of marriage of Jesus Christ is covered by
a mystery in church tradition. Doubtless is the symbolical interpretation of the Christ Bride as Churches, but to tell about the Bride as person we may only cautiously and approximately.
That she is named as Bride of Lamb, we may consider as indication to her human nature and to her connection with sacrificial feat of Jesus. Where and when she could be born or be created?
Let's pay attention to exclusive solemnity of apostle John informing us about following episode connected with a crucifixion of Jesus:
"One of soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true; he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe" (In. 19:34-35).
There is one ancient iconographic plot which has reached us in the form of precious Byzantine enamel panagia of IX or Х century, served as a breastplate of the Abkhazian tsars. There is an assumption that enamel with this plot has been created for the first time by the building of Constantinople temple of Holy Sofia for an ornament of its altar. Enamel represents the crucified Savior, a woman stands near His feet collecting His expiring blood. The impression is that she as though arises from this stream of blood. She is represented again, as going away, hiding something from human eyes. John and Maria (Jesus Mother) stand near the cross; it can mean that only they were witnesses of occurring events. An assumption arises*: maybe it was the act of creation of the bride of the Christ from His blood? There is an important parallel: as Eve has been created from Adam's who was in a deep slumber, also New Adam's Bride is created from His blood during a mortal sleep. Just now created Bride sees at once the Groom covered with wounds and dead. This first impression of her life takes root forever into her soul and if somewhere it is possible to expect her hidden presence, near a deathbed of sufferers and martyrs for faith.
But the second impression of her life is a Groom resurrected and victorious. Therefore the thought about her quite often came on heart of Christian warriors and tsars.
Probably, she invisibly accompanies the revived Jesus forty days which Hespent on this earth to rise to God together with Him. Together with her Groom and His Most Holy Mother she nowadays increases in beams of Divine Glory, dividing His torments from our sins and His labours for our salvation.*
*The Note of 2007. As now I consider the idea of "creations of Bride" erroneous, the question about interpretation of enamel described above remains for me opened. There is a version that woman with bowl meansMaria Magdalina as Jesus wife, and under His blood collected in a bowl - His posterity. Arguments in favour of this hypothesis: 1. Inadmissibility for the Jewish rabbi, who was Jesus («rebe, rabby») to be unmarried. 2. Special, exclusive relations of Jesus with Maria from Magdala who should not be identified with evangelic "whore".
The innermost knowledge about her is stored in church tradition, becoming more obvious only during the periods of spiritual inspiration. Among such periods, besides apostolic, it is possible to note Byzantium of VI and IX centuries, England and France in times of Charles the Great, Abkhazian Kingdom of IХ-Х centuries, the Kievan Russia of XI century and the latest – Russia of XV century. She always was named with the Greek name Sophia (евр. Chokma, engl. Wisdom).
The image of Sophia has inspired Konstantin Philosoph to the sermon of Orthodoxy among Slavs.
Russian Novgorod directly named itself a city of Sophia: "where Sophia - there Novgorod". Worship of Her had here strongly personal forms. The Iconographic plot of XV century, represents Sophia with wings, in the imperial clothes, sitting on a throne; above her – the Jesus Christ; before a throne John the Baptist and the Theotokos are interceding.
The cult of Sophia is definitely connected with archangel Michael, since the legend about wonderful events during building of Constantinople Sophia, the main temple of empire. Dedication of the temple to Sophia has occurred according to special revelation of Michael.