All Creation Praise Thee

March 19, 2012 Comments Off on All Creation Praise Thee

All Creation Praise Thee by Fr. John Walsted

The icon is a visual depiction of the hymn ‘All Creation Praises Thee,’ which comes during the Commemorations, part of the consecratory prayers over the bread and wine in the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil, the eucharistic liturgy of the Orthodox Churches. The hymn begins, ‘All creation praises thee, O woman full of grace, the hierarchy of angels together with the human race.’ All eucharistic liturgies of the sacramental traditions understand our earthly Eucharists to be participations in the great heavenly liturgy. Here the Church on earth and the whole company of heaven join in praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose womb, the hymn says, God made his throne, ‘making it more spacious than the heavens.’.

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The Face of Christ

March 12, 2012 Comments Off on The Face of Christ

Fr. John Walsted Icon -- Face of Christ

The Face of Christ by Fr. John Walsted

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.

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