New Christian Icons
New Christian Icons
Holy Icons originated in the very early centuries of Christianity, hundreds of years before the great schism that separated the Eastern Church from the Western Church. Today, new Christian icons are being painted by Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants.
Christianity is an evangelistic religion, and Christ came to bring the message of salvation to the poor, the sick, and the dying, without discriminating as to their standing in a church, sacred imagery belongs to all people. It exists for the purpose of bringing all people into a closer relationship with Christ.
In the words of the ancient Icon painter Dionysius, “the successful accomplishment of icon painting technique depends entirely upon the icon painter’s devotion to prayer.”
Learning the craft and art skills of icon writing, being part of a church, having a good spiritual director, living an ascetic life style of prayer and fasting- these are all important attributes of an iconographer. If you have an interest in icon writing, find an icon writing class in your area and begin the process of discovery and the joy of icon writing!
A New Icon was commissioned for Saint Patrick’s Church, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Father Aidan and the St. Patrick Liturgy Committee created a beautiful booklet with each scene from his life in the Icon accompanied by the story so that people could understand more fully how Saint Patrick’s faith and love of God resulted in the Christianization of Ireland. It’s a beautiful book!
Icons as Contemplation
Looking at an icon with the eyes of our heart we can experience God’s Kingdom through the icon. The icon itself is merely wood and paint, but through the faithful following of the canons of iconography, the iconographer brings us into communion with what the icon represents.
When painting an icon, we pray with an intent to connect with the spiritual reality that icon represents. Just as in Lectio Divina, we read Holy Scripture and find a way for us to personally experience some aspect of that Scripture, so, too, we do this in icon writing. We make every effort to be in communion with God and His saints in order to portray the depth of meaning inherent in God’s reality, His message through the saint or Biblical scene. This way of experiencing, observing, and comprehending God’s truth in an icon is aided by the action and presence of the Holy Spirit. Icons are signs or symbols that elicit a synergy between the Icon, the Holy Spirit and the viewer with the hope and intention of receiving divine revelation.
How to Bring Beauty to our World
Help to spread the Gospel message and God’s love through Icons and Icon writing! There are two Icon Blogs you may be interested in: The American Association of Iconographers, and New Christian Icons News.
Sacred Art in the Community
One way to evangelize is through prayer and teaching individuals the spiritual discipline of a prayerful art practice. Often, the placement of Icons in public and private spaces where those who don’t attend churches can see and experience God is a way of blessing our community through the Icon.
Icons Go Straight To Our Hearts
God’s love can sometimes be apprehended through an Icon more easily than a book, or sermon. Our culture is desperately in need of God’s love, and since images speak directly to our hearts, icons speak to many people. In addition to the joy we have in writing the Icon, we can share it with many, many people. Writing icons can be an act of service, giving of the talents we have been blessed with. Icons speak today using the images, symbols and spiritual foundations of Byzantine Russia.
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Icon Newsletter and American Association of Iconographers Blog: