The icon is separated into two tiers, with the bottom level divided into four sections. In the main tier is the iconography of Sts Peter and Paul holding a miniature church, symbolising the Church as a whole. They are surrounded by the other 10 Apostles (Andrew, James (son of Zebedee), John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James (son of Alpaeus), Lebbaeus, and Simon the Zealot). Peter, who stands on the left, is holding the keys to the Kingdom in his right hand. Paul, on the right, is holding a bundle of scrolls, presumably his Letters. Above the main scene is a small opening with golden rays indicating the celestial sphere. Two of the apostles hold golden codices.
The iconography of Sts Peter and Paul was especially important in fifteenth and sixteenth century Crete, and is related to another iconography of Peter and Paul embracing, as well as the political context of this period surrounding the Council of Ferrara (1438-1445). Nano Chatzidakis points out:
This is a subject which, like that of the Embrace of the two Apostles, was disseminated in Venetian-held Crete particularly during the 15th and 16th centuries.1
C. Mavropolou-Tsioumi points out that the earliest example of this iconography is at the ninth century Church of St Andrew in Peristera (Greek island in the Sporades).2 The iconography subsequently became popular across Orthodox countries on the Mediterranean.
In the bottom tier we have four saints, from left to right: St George, unidentified female saint, St Nicholas, and St Demetrios.