The unique representation of the Pantocrator, the Ruler and the Judge of the Universe, painted on the wall of the Byzantine Church Santa Sofia in Constantinople, differs from many stereotyped images of the Creator. The remarkable realism of God’s nature is being fully manifested in this visionary portrait of the Divinity. Wisdom and Goodness emanate from the Creator’s meditative facial features. God’s alert mysterious gaze unveils His infinite divine love. The golden aurora around His Holy Head and the golden light behind Him illuminates His divinity. This intimate portrait of the Creator is the most striking representation of His true divine nature.
Attached to the wall behind the main altar, a different representation of the Pantocrator, albeit influenced by the wall painting in Santa Sofia, can be viewed in Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Fresno. Executed in Byzantine style, it portrays the Ruler and the Judge of the Universe. The golden halo and golden lines, delineating His silhouette and His garment symbolize His divinity. However, contrary to the realistic portrayal in Santa Sofia, in Saint Anthony only the Judge’s face and hands have been modeled. His garments have no depth. His long arms are out of proportion. Nevertheless, His dominant stern gaze overrules the lack of realism. His decision has been made. He is ready to judge the living and the dead.
A photograph of the painting in Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Fresno is not available.