According to the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles of Christ on the fiftieth day after his resurrection and bestowed on them the gift of preaching and speaking in foreign tongues. The event came to be interpreted as the birth of the Christian church. The Holy Spirit is described in the Acts of the Apostles as wind and tongues of fire resting on the apostles’ heads.
The Yaroslavian icon was painted for the Local tier of the iconostasis in the city’s main Dormition Cathedral. The Local tier is the lower row of icons in the iconostasis where the images of the patron saint of the church and other locally venerated icons are displayed. The Dormition Cathedral was destroyed in 1937 during the antireligious campaign unleashed by the Soviet government after the 1917 Revolution.