The holy forefather Noah was the son of Lamech, father of Shem, Ham and Japheth and a ninth generation descendant of Adam. Noah is the father of humankind, the last of ten допотопных patriarchs.

According to Genesis, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time” (Genesis, 6: 9). When the Lord decided to exterminate people who sunk into evil by sending flood onto them, he told Noah to make an ark and hide inside it with all of his family, animals and birds. When the earth was completely dry and all the inhabitants of the ark got outside, “God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.’” (Genesis, 9: 1). Then God concluded the covenant with Noah and his sons saying “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you… Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” (Genesis, 9: 9–13)

Noah began to cultivate land and planted a vineyard. He lived 350 years after the flood, “altogether, [he] lived 950 years” (Genesis 9: 29).

In Russian medieval art the forefather Noah was portrayed among the Old Testament forefathers and fathers. Such depictions had been originally encountered in temple mural paintings, such as those at the Church of the Savior on Ilyin street (1378). Since the 16th century the icons depicting the Old Testament forefathers with scrolls in hands have been placed in a separate forefather row. On the icons from the forefather row Noah is traditionally portrayed as an old man wearing a chiton, himation and sandals, holding the ark (in the form of a ship), such as, for example, on a 1600 icon of The Saint Forefather Noah from the Transfiguration of Our Lord Cathedral in the Spaso-Evfimiev Monastery and the Annunciation Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin.

The holy forefather Noah is commemorated on the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers and Fathers.

Zhanna G. Belik,

Ph.D. in Art history, senior research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum, custodian of the tempera painting collection.

Olga E. Savchenko,

research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum.


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