The Gift of Transfiguration: Changed Life and Lives – An Icon Exhibit

Representing more than five centuries of a unique artistic tradition, St. Paul The Apostle Orthodox Christian Church will be hosting an exhibition of more than 100 icons, both ancient and new, on display in its sanctuary, located at 4451 Wagner Road in Sugarcreek Township, August 20-22, 2010. The exhibition is free and open to the public from 10 AM to 6 PM on Friday, August 20th and Saturday, August 21, and from 12- 5 PM on Sunday, August 22.

We sincerely hope you will be able to join us.

The exhibition entitled “ The Gift of Transfiguration: Changed Life and Lives” features 40 historic icons, dating from 1650 to the present, from Russia, Greece, Ukraine, Ethiopia as well as the United States. Among the treasures, taken from private collections (and on public display for the first time in Ohio) are a 17th century Russian miniature iconstasis, or “icon screen” with more than 20 individual figures, as well as a large 18th century Icon of the Virgin Mary entitled “ The Joy of All Who Sorrow”.

“An icon is an instrument for the transmission of Christian faith, no less than the written word. Through sacred imagery, the Holy Spirit speaks to us, revealing truths beyond the reach of words…The icon is not an end in itself but assists us in going beyond what can be seen with our physical eyes into the realm of mystical experience…A disciple of Saint John the   Evangelist, Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, made the comment: ‘He who possesses in truth the word of Jesus can hear even its silence.’…The icon is a work of theology written in line, images and color…The icon is not intended to force an emotional response. There is a conscious avoidance of movement or theatrical gesture. In portraying moments of biblical history, the faces of participants in the scene are rarely expressive of their feelings at the time as we might imagine them, but rather suggest virtues – purity, patience in suffering, forgiveness, compassion and love…The icon is a revelation of transfiguration. Like the Gospel texts, icons aim to transform the viewer.”    (Jim Forest, Praying with Icons, pgs. 18-21)

The historic icons will be surrounded by 36 large icons recently installed on the walls of St. Paul’s, commissioned by the parish from noted Russian-American iconographer Dmitri Shkolnik. Born in Moscow, now based in San Francisco, Shkolnik’s original icons for St. Pauls’ detail scenes from the life of Christ, the life of St. Paul, as well saints of the 20th century – including several martyrs from the Midwest who were executed in Russia for their faith during the years of Soviet oppression.

In keeping with the theme, “The Gift of Transfiguration: Changed Life and Lives”, the exhibition concludes with a number of recent icons by Daryl Cochran, an American iconographer who is currently an inmate at the London Correctional Institute in London, OH. Daryl became an Orthodox Christian a few years ago while in prison. A talented artist, Daryl is in the process of becoming a unique iconographer as well.

The exhibition will take place during a weekend of celebration that will also see a visit by the Orthodox Bishop of Pittsburgh to bless and consecrate the parish’s new icons. His Grace, Bishop Melchizedek (Pleska) of Pittsburgh, a native Daytonian, will preside at a choral vespers on Saturday evening, August 20, at 7 PM at St. Paul’s. That same evening at 8 PM the Bishop will offer a reflection on the meaning of icons, followed by a small reception. On Sunday Auugst 22, the Bishop will celebrate the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom at 9:30 AM, followed by a service of blessing for the new icons at 11:00 AM, and a reception in the parish hall at 11:30 AM. We would welcome all to join us for services as well.

For more information on the exhibition, or the associated events, please feel free to contact the church at 937-320-9977 or visit the parish website at http://www.stpdayton.org/.

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