The Prophet Ezekiel is a Hebrew prophet , the author of the book entitled after him.His name is translated like this: “ May God strengthen”.He made his prophesies among the Judaic settlers at the time of the Babylonian captivity.The first recorded prophecy made by Ezekiel may date back to 593 B.C. (Eze. 1:2); the last one to 571 B.C. (Eze. 29:17).
The first vision of Ezekiel (Eze.1:1-3:15) was connected to his vocation to go into prophetical service.As compared with the other prophets, Ezekiel’s sermons focused on symbolic actions predicting a disaster, which is to befall on Judea for the sins of the people: long silence, locking up in their houses, depiction of Jerusalem and its siege on the brick, lying either on the left side, or the right side, eating unclean food, shaving off hair-the last three activities represented Jerusalem as a sieged, starving and conquered city. During more than 10 years (from 586 till 573 B.C.) after the capture of Jerusalem Ezekiel addressed the Israeli people with the soothing words, spoke about the end of the exile and return to the Motherland, where the congregation of the Lord was to be rewarded-a renovated temple.The book written by the Prophet Ezekiel does not say anything about the last years of his kife and death.The old legend says that the Prophet Ezekiel was murdered in Babylon by “the judge of his people whom he accused of idolatry and was buried in the tomb of Arphaxad, the son of Sim, Noah’s son” in El Kifle 32 kilometres away from El Hill in today’s Central Iraq.
In the Byzantine iconography the image of Ezekiel was formed later than the appearance of the other “great” prophets.First Ezekiel was depicted as a young man in light-coloured clothes with a shock of short curly hair slightly covering the ears: on the frescoes of the synagogue in Fool Europos (244/5 The National Museum, Damascus); on the mosaic of the kafolikon of the St Catherine’s monastery of Mount Sinai.(550-565). Later Ezekiel
was depicted as a sredovek with dark hair or with greying hair; an old man in a chiton an himation, with grey long wave hair reaching his shoulders, with a wedge-shaped beard.The earliest of iconographic versions are: the icon “The Prophets Ezekiel,Isaiah,Jacob” from the Kirillo-Belozersk monastery (about 1497) and the icon the Prophet Ezekiel from the prophet tier of the iconostas of the Transfiguration Cathedral in Kashin (1449-1450)
The major characteristic of the Prophet Ezekiel- closed gates of the temple- symbolize the Immaculate Conception.The researchers stress the similarity of the iconography of the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah. The colour of Ezekiel’s attire, the shape of his beard differ in various versions.The visions of Ezekiel were interpreted as prophesies about the Virgin Mary, about the Last Judgement and the coming of the Messiah.The texts of the scrolls varied accordingly. (Ezek.37:1; 37:4-6; 37:12 ; 34:20;14; 19:1).
In the interior of the churches the depictions of the prophets, including Ezekiel, as a rule are located in the dome and the eastern part of the church: in the interfenestration section of the Cathedral of St.Sophia in Novgorod (1109), on the bema of the Cathedral of St.Sophia in Kiev (1040-ies).The depiction of Ezekiel was included in the prophet tier of the iconostases In the pattern book for the guidance of the icon-painting for Novgorod icon painters of the end of theXV1 century it is noted that Ezekiel “is grey-haired, braid on his right shoulder, beard of St.John the Theologian, robe hook game”
The memory of the Prophet Ezekiel falls on the 3rd August (21st July old style)