Ivan Romenskyi The Icon “Manna from Heaven”

Ivan Romenskyi The Icon “Manna from Heaven”

(reverse side of the iconostasis of St. Andrew’s Church)

The middle of the 18th c. Oil on canvas. 280 x 165 cm

from the collection of the National Conservation Area “St. Sophia of Kyiv”

The icon was located above the deacon’s doors with the image of Archangel Michael on the back of the iconostasis, which was decorated with six icons on the plots of the Old Testament cycle.

The Book of Exodus and the Book of Numbers tell of the gathering of the manna from heaven, which God sent to the people of Israel when they ran out of food after leaving Egypt. Manna fell 6 days a week, at night. It could be collected after the dew had melted. It was white as coriander seeds. According to legend, it seemed like bread to young people, butter to children, and honey to old people.

The book of Exodus, Chap. 16: ‘And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “Man hu?” (from Hebrew “what is it?”). For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat” … And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey’.

For forty years the Jews ate manna, and when they finally found themselves in the Promised Land, the manna stopped falling from heaven.

There are various hypotheses about what manna really was. Today it is known that in the deserts of North Africa and southwestern Asia grows edible lichen, the fruits of which are in the form of small white balls, similar to cereals, which are still consumed by locals.

The icon was restored in two stages. The first stage (1982-1991) was performed by artists-restorers of “Ukrrestavratsiia” – Beliai A.F., Nazarova V.O., Yakovenko I.V. The second stage (2003) was executed by the artists-restorers of the “Ukrproektrestavratsiia” corporation Podkopaieva V.I., Podkopaiev S.I., Ostapchuk A.M. After restoration, the icon is exhibited in the northern exhibition hall of St. Sophia Cathedral.