In the sanctuary apse of the church of Osios David is hidden the most important, the most well-hidden treasure of the city of Thessaloniki – the famous scene of The Vision of Ezekiel. The exquisite mosaic depicts Christ as a young beardless man sitting on a rainbow while ascending into Heavens. Above him are the four rivers of Eden at the banks of which are seated the prophets Ezekiel and Habakkuk. In the vision, Christ is surrounded by the four evangelists, holding the gospels, in the form of their respected “nobility” beasts.
There are only a handful visual representation of Christ as a beardless young man and this one is among the very first ones to be made. It needs to be noted that a beardless Christ appears to be more feminine, even androgynist, which sparkled a heated debate at the time of its creation about the human representation of Christ’s divinity.
The apse decoration places Christ in the middle of the fresco surrounded by Matthew in the form of an angel – a reference to incarnation and Jesus’s human nature; Mark in the form of a lion – a reference to resurrection; Luke in the form of α bull – a reference to sacrifice and John as an eagle – a reference to the ascension and divine nature of Christ.
If you pay attention to the spherical-like shape of the fresco you may notice that it resembles an eye-ball. This optical illusions stuns the viewer who feels as if he was experiencing apocalypse through Ezekiel’s eyes.The latter appears standing by the left side of Christ with his hands facing the sky observing the glorious ascension of Christ.
Overall, the Vision of Ezekiel is a piece of art of great beauty and historical importance and a must-see item for every local and visitor in Thessaloniki.