March 12, 2012 Comments Off on The Face of Christ
In the early 1990s Grace Church West Farms (in a devastated section of the South Bronx) suffered a fire that completely destroyed the wooden structure. By the time of the groundbreaking ceremony to begin construction on the new church building, most of the rubble from the fire had been cleared, but Fr. John found on the ground a part of what had been a panel of the main doors of the church. He asked the Vicar if he could use the board for an icon. Fr. John cleaned the board enough for it to take a coat of gesso, but did not try to make it very smooth or even trim the shape into more of a rectangle. Fr. John chose this Andrei Rublev icon of the Face of Christ because Rublev’s ancient icon had itself nearly been destroyed when Stalin ordered icons to be burned. The priest who rescued the Rublev icon from the bonfire was later killed by the Soviet authorities. Fr. John’s icon is now a focus of devotion in a new parish church with a vibrant congregation.
(To view additional icons from Fr. John, please visit: http://www.walstedicons.com/gallery.htm)