Icon of the Week: Celtic Trinity by Br. Robert Lenz

March 10, 2014 Comments Off on Icon of the Week: Celtic Trinity by Br. Robert Lenz

Celtic Trinity

From ancient times human beings have responded to experiences with the divine with works of art. They have used metaphor and image to describe what they have “seen.” Individual expressions of personal experiences of the divine have often challenged rigid religious traditions.

The spiritual genius of many ethnic groups through the centuries has been responsible for profound images of faith. Drawings on walls of prehistoric caves are powerful witnesses to highly developed spiritual sentiments of peoples who lived before the traditional religions of the East and West.

The civilizations of the Americas which flourished prior to the arrival of Columbus and missionaries from Europe were routinely destroyed. Images of faith were often condemned before any attempt was made to understand the experience which gave birth to these images of the spirit. Religious authorities, urged by patriarchal bias, were especially fearful of the role of feminine images in these primitive yet often highly evolved cultures. Male clerics and theologians were careful to exercise control over the images to be used in worship and devotions.

Native Americans, Africans, Asians, and early Europeans saw their religious traditions and images cast aside in favor of the Christian images current at the time. Treasures of faith were lost as cultures were systematically destroyed by colonists and conquerors.

A beautiful image from ancient Celtic religious experience was God as a trinity of women. The Maiden gave birth to creation. The Mother nurtured and protected it, and the Crone brought it wisely to its end. A raven accompanied the Crone as a symbol of life and death: though it ate dead things, it flew high into the heavens. The three women are depicted from different races to extend the Celtic image to a more global perspective. The snake was another sacred feminine image. It represented life, fertility, and rejuvenation. Devouring its own tail, it represented immortality.

Feminine images have suffered greatly in the west. Women will continue to suffer oppression in religious society until their images have been reclaimed and honored. These feminine insights can help to present a new healing perspective on the problems that face our modern world.

(To view more icons from this artist, please visit Trinity Stores at https://www.trinitystores.com/)

Icon: The Resurrection—The Descent into Hell (The Anastasis)

April 9, 2012 Comments Off on Icon: The Resurrection—The Descent into Hell (The Anastasis)

The Resurrection—The Descent into Hell (The Anastasis)

The Resurrection—The Descent into Hell (The Anastasis), Basilica Cattedrale Patriachale di San Marco, Venezia, Italy. 11th Century.

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.’.

For view more icons by Fr. John, please visit: http://www.walstedicons.com/gallery.htm)

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.

(To view additional icons from Fr. John, please visit: http://www.walstedicons.com/gallery.htm)

Martin Luther King of Georgia (1929-1968)

March 5, 2012 Comments Off on Martin Luther King of Georgia (1929-1968)

Martin Luther King of Georgia (1929-1968)Artist’s Narrative:

This icon depicts Martin Luther King, one of the martyrs of the Twentieth Century. He was an ordained minister of the Baptist Church. From 1955 until his death, he led a campaign of nonviolent resistance in the United States against racial oppression and injustice. The number he wears around his neck is from a “mug shot” taken one of the many times he was arrested by American police for resisting unjust laws. The prison bars behind him represent the occasions he was placed in jail, and also the oppression and slavery of Afro-Americans in the United States. The text on his scroll is from his speech in Albany, Georgia, on December 14, 1961. The Greek inscription by his head reads, “Holy Martin.” Since the eighteenth century, the faith of African American Christians in America has been tied to the struggle for freedom. Martin Luther King renewed the bond between faith and political action like the Old Testament prophets. Although his life was threatened many times, he continued to expose himself to danger. He was shot on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King of Georgia Icon by Brother Robert Lentz, OFM

(To view more icons from this artist, please visit Trinity Stores at https://www.trinitystores.com/)

 

Christ of the Desert

February 27, 2012 Comments Off on Christ of the Desert

Christ of the DesertArtist’s Narrative:

Out of the deserts of the Middle East comes an ancient Christian tradition. Although it has been overshadowed by the Greek and Latin traditions, it is their equal in dignity and theological importance. It is a Semetic tradition, belonging to those churches that use Syriac as their liturgical language. Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic, the language spoken by Christ himself.

This icon celebrates the richness of Syriac Christianity. The inscriptions in the upper corners read “Jesus Christ,” and at the bottom, “Christ of the Desert.” The Syriac language has ties to the earth that are deep and rich. It is more inclusive than most European languages. The theological experience of Syriac Christians is different because they have encountered the Gospel in such a language. Theirs is an unhellenized expression — one that is neither Europeanized nor Westernized.

Semitic as it is, the Syriac tradition knows no dichotomy between the mind and heart. The heart is the center of the human person — center of intellect as well as feelings. The body and all of creation longs to be reunited with God.

A constant theme in Syriac literature is homesickness for Paradise, a desire to restore Paradise on earth. Christians pray facing east because Paradise was in the east. This longing was expressed in monastic terms in ancient times, but its implications today reach far beyond monastery walls. With earthy roots, this longing for Paradise involves concrete responses in the realms of politics, ecology, and economics.
Christ of the Desert Icon by Brother Robert Lentz, OFM

(To view more icons from this artist, please visit Trinity Stores at https://www.trinitystores.com/)

 

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