Categorized | Religionism

Black Peter, Russian Paul: Not All Icons Look the Same

Black Peter, Russian Paul: Not All Icons Look the Same

People in every culture seem to have a different vision of key religious figures.

Over the course of a few articles, I’m going to compare a few public domain images I’ve found from various religions.

Today, it’s:

St Peter (Mount Sinai)

It’s not surprising to learn this one is from the renowned St Catherine’s monastery on Mount Sinai. This St Peter could easily pass for a first-century Jew. He looks vaguely ‘Semitic,’ he is definitely a Middle Eastern man; maybe some like the Lebanese-American scholar, Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

He is soberly watching and waiting. Time passes slowly in the desert…

And in the Monastery.

St Peter (Byzantium)

But look! Here’s a big stocky one from the Byzantine Empire. 9th century, the old Roman Empire was gone, Byzantium or the ‘Eastern Empire’ had taken its place.

Were the Byzantine Orthodox afraid of the rise of Islam?

And were they conscious of the decline of the old Roman Empire? This St Peter looks robust and stocky, but perhaps a little fearful of persecution.

And look, the crowing cock that signifies betrayal looms large over frightened Peter.

Is he afraid of breaching his sacred trust?

A lot of historical significance here.


More of these to follow in future. Maybe Buddha next time?


Image attribution (image 1 and cover image):

Found and uploaded by en:User:Ghirlandajo ([1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Image attribution (image 2):

By anonimous ([1][2]) [Public domain], <a href=””>via Wikimedia Commons</a>


This post was written by

- who has written 190 posts on

PhD candidate, freelance journalist, indie author. @onetonguejohnny (Twitter)


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