Prophet Habakkuk is the eighth of the twelve minor prophets and the author of the book which bears his name. Practically nothing is known about Habakkuk’s personal life. However, Additions to Daniel (verses 33-39) do have the story about Habakkuk that took the stew to prophet Daniel who had been thrown into the lion’s den. The book states that Habakkuk’s sermon took place in Judea, perhaps Jerusalem. Since the Chaldean rise to power is dated c. 612 BC, it is assumed he was active about that time.
The main subject of the prophecy is the oracle about the forthcoming invasion of chaldeans and the conviction of the sinful peoples. The central theological point of the whole book is the problem of theodicy: how can the Creator Who rules the world and the history tolerate the oppression of the righteous people by the ungodly ones.
The most early representations of the prophet Habakkuk appear in the scene “Prophet Daniel in the lion’s den”: the relief of the gates of Santa Sabina church in Rome (ca 430): the depiction of the miraculous transportation from Judea to Babylon reflects the text of the Bible word for word: “...the angel of the Lord took him by the crown, and lifted him up by the hair of his head, and... set him... over the den”.
Usually the prophet is represented wearing chiton and himation, with his right hand raised in a gesture of blessing and his left hand holding folded or unfolded scroll with he text from the Book of Habakkuk, for instance, on the fresco of Dormition cathedral of Vladimir (ca 1189). Another variant represents the moving figure, Habakkuk’s right hand is raised to his head with fingure pointing at the ear symbolizing the vision of a prophet: the Dormition church in Daphne (ca 1100). There are two variants of representations of Habakkuk: as a young prophet and as a mature man. As to the colors, there are also two variants. In the depictions of byzantine circle Habakkuk is wearing the green himation and blue chiton. In the Old Russian representations he is wearing the red himation and dark blue chiton in accordance with the original icon of the 16th century painted in Novgorod where Habakkuk is depicted «аки Георгий млад, верхняя риза киноварь, испод лазорь».
The image of the prophet Habakkuk formed part of the prophet tiers of the high iconostasis: the iconostasis of the Trinity cathedral of the Cyril-Belozersk monastery (1497, the Russian museum) and others. There are various iconographic versions of the prophet tiers: full-length, waist-length and shoulder-length images. Judging from the inventory lists that survived the depiction of Habakkuk usually was the last one on the south side.
Habakkuk’s memory is honored on the 15th of December (the 2nd of December according to the Julian Calendar).