The icon depicts [[Christ]] after he has been removed from the cross, lying supine, as his body is being prepared for burial. The scene is taken from the [[Gospel]] of St. John 19:38-42. Shown around him, and mourning his death, may be his mother (the [[Theotokos]]; [[Apostle John|John]] the beloved disciple; [[Joseph of Arimathea]]; and [[Mary Magdalene]], as well as angels. [[Nicodemus]] and others may also be depicted. Sometimes, the body of Christ appears alone, except for angels, as if lying in state.[http://www.shroudforum.com/exhibit/images/simplezoom.jpg] The oldest surviving embroidered icon, of about 1200 (Venice) is in this form. The equivalent subjects in the West are called the "Anointing of Christ's body", or ''Lamentation'' (with a group present), or the ''Pietà'', with just Christ held by Mary.
Usually, the [[troparion]] of the day is embroidered around the edges of the icon: