God: The 1st Iconographer

“The Son, Jesus Christ, is the perfect image, or icon, of God the Father, like him in everything except that he is the Son and not himself the Father. And though not completely like God, the human being is created as an image, or icon, of God. After we have fallen, it is God who restores his image and repaints his likeness in us. By practicing virtues, we are also called to craft God’s likeness in ourselves. In this work of creation and restoration, God is the first iconographer, and we humans are also called to be iconographers as we work to make ourselves into likenesses of God’s virtues. The task of an iconographer painting a wood panel should be seen in this context, as a particular vocation that echoes what is universally human. Likewise, if people who look at icons see in them the presence of God or an anticipation of the kingdom to come, they are also called to discern God and his kingdom in their neighbors as they strive to welcome God within themselves.”

(Nonna Verna Harrison, God’s Many Splendored Image, pgs. 160-161)

Icon Exhibit Photos

A gracious thank you to Mark Stokoe for overseeing our parish’s Icon Exhibit,”The Gift of Transfiguration: Changed Life and Lives.” 

 Thanks to all parish members who contributed in every way to make the Exhibit a success:  cleaning, setting up, donating cookies, serving as greeters or hosts or ushers or security, and to those who set up the Pysanky exhibit as well. 

Also thanks to the 400-500 guests who visited the exhibit.

The Exhibit was part of our year long celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the parish.

As with the 25th Anniversary Banquet in May, the event was free and open to the public, for freely have we received all blessings from God, and so freely we are to give.

The Gift of Transfiguration: Changed Life and Lives (Day 2)

“As the late Greek iconographer and philosopher Photios Kontaglou points out: ‘The purpose of Orthodox iconography is not simply to decorate the church for pleasure of the congregation. To the contrary, its purpose is to offer spiritual nourishment to the faithful. I use ‘spiritual’ in the Christian sense of the word. The ecclesiastical art of the Orthodox Church does not strive to delight our senses, but rather to sanctify our senses by offering the same holy nourishment we partake of during our divine services.’” (Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, The Ikon as Scripture, pg. 39)

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, Dayton, OH  45440, August 20-22, 2010. The exhibition is free and open to the public from 10 AM to 6 PM on Saturday, August 21, and from 12- 5 PM on Sunday, August 22.

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”.

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 sanctuary icons. His Grace, Bishop Melchizedek of Pittsburgh, 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 August 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.

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.

St. Paul guiding St. John Chrysostom

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/.

Installation of Icons at St. Paul Church, Dayton

Installation of Iconography at St. Paul Church

As part of the 25th Anniversary Celebration of our parish, additional icons were purchased for the nave of the church and are being installed by our Iconographer Dmitry Shkolnik.  There are several places where you can view photos of the installation process in progress, which are all listed below.

Photos of the installation process beginning and actually being done can be viewed at http://picasaweb.google.com/markhpearson/IkonInstallationMay19#

Our official Icon Project Webpage is at http://www.earlham.edu/markp/church_icons/

I have posted a few of my photos of the process and progress of our icon’s being installed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/frted/sets/72157623987413083/

Need an Icon Painted?

There is a man whom I visit in prison, a convicted murderer, who about a year ago converted to Orthodoxy while in prison.   I wrote one previous blog about my somewhat miraculous experience with Daryl (see my blog  Must Have Been an Angel).

It turns out that Daryl is a talented artist and has begun painting small icons in prison.   As with all us in the fallen world, there is great beauty in his soul as well as the capacity to sin.  

Daryl has to use the materials he has available in prison.  Somewhat “funny” story- he had to use dental floss to cut a board to shape for an icon he made for me.   Daryl has provided a few icons to our parish and to some parishioners.     If you are interested in having him paint an icon, you can send me a letter with the icon you would be interested in having him paint.   Size limit is probably between about 3″x4″ up to 8″x12″ (but remember he may not be able to do exact size as he has to use available materials).   He asks $30-$50 for an icon (he has to pay for all the materials he uses).   He does give part of what he earns to the church and to charity.  He also needs the money to buy toiletries and tennis shoes (which the prison does not supply for free).     It helps if you can send a photocopy of the icon you want him to paint so that he can copy the style.    If you are interested in an icon, you can contact me through this blog or at FrTed@stpdayton.org or at

St. Paul Orthodox Church

4451 Wagner Road

Dayton, OH  45440

Below are a couple of examples of his iconography.  (Some of these are available for purchase as well).

 

Anthony

christ

christ4

crucifixion2