Icon of the Week: Saints Polyeuct and Nearchus

March 2, 2015 Comments Off on Icon of the Week: Saints Polyeuct and Nearchus

RLPANSoldiers in the Roman army and deeply attached to each other, they were both stationed in Militene, Armenia. The earliest account of Polyeuct’s martyrdom was written by Nearchus. The primary thread running through his narration is the desire of these two friends to spend eternity together. According to the text, when the emperor issues a new edict against Christians, Nearchus is terribly upset. He is worried that, since Polyeuct is a pagan and Nearchus a Christian, his own possible martyrdom and the eventual death of Polyeuct might lead to their being in separate places in the afterlife. Polyeuct reassures him that he has long been drawn to Christianity and intends to die a Christian. With a convert’s fervor, Polyeuct then attacks a pagan procession and gets himself arrested. The judge turns out to be his own father-in-law, Felix, who begs him to reconsider.

Polyeuct’s wife, Paulina, comes to court and unsuccessfully implores him, for the sake of their marriage and their son, to change his mind. After severe tortures, he is condemned to death. Just before he is beheaded, Polyeuct sees Nearchus near. His final words to Nearchus are “Remember our secret vow.” Nearchus recorded this story, which was recounted annually at the church and eventually erected over Polyeuct’s tomb in Militene. In the year 527, a great church with a gold-plated ceiling was built in Constantinople and dedicated to St. Polyeuct. Later in the same century, Gregory of Tours wrote that the most solemn oaths were usually sworn in this church; because Polyeuct had come to be considered the special heavenly protector of vows and avenger of broken promises.

The inscription on the bottom of the icon is a rendering of the saint’s names in classical Armenian, to honor the location of their story. The original of this icon is part of The Living Circle Collection in Chicago, Illinois.

Polyeuct’s feast day is February 13.

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

Icon of the Week: St. Declan of Ardmore

February 23, 2015 Comments Off on Icon of the Week: St. Declan of Ardmore

 

 

RLDOALittle is known of St. Declan, except that he was a prince of the Decius tribe of Celts in Ireland. Years before St. Patrick arrived, he was consecrated bishop of Ardmore in Waterford. Many miracles have been ascribed to him. He is buried in a tiny oratory in Ardmore, near which is his ancient well.

The Celtic peoples found much in Christianity, which reminded them of their native spirituality, and adopted the new religion with relative ease. Their local church, however, was considerably different than the church in Rome in many aspects. Rome struggled for centuries to subdue the Celtic church, finally succeeding with the Norman Conquest of Ireland in the 11th and 12th centuries. St. Declan harkens back to those earliest days when the Irish had their own truly native expression of Christianity.

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

Icon of the Week: Julian of Norwich

March 31, 2014 Comments Off on Icon of the Week: Julian of Norwich

Julian of NorwichVery few details are known about the life of Julian of Norwich. She was an anchoress who lived in a special cell attached to the parish church of St. Julian, which may account for her name. She was the first woman to write a book in English. Some feel that she originally belonged to a community of Benedictine nuns because she had more formal learning than most women of her day. Others feel that because her writings show such a deep understanding of what it means to be a mother, she was a laywoman who may have lost her husband and children when the plague swept through Norwich in 1361.

When she was thirty years old she was intensely sick and came close to death. At this time she had a number of visions of Christ on the cross. She recovered and lived many more years, writing down what she had seen and learned from her visions. The themes which run most strongly through her writings are the motherhood of God and God’s mercy towards weak humankind. “So Jesus is our true Mother in nature by our first creation, and He is our true Mother in grace by His taking our created nature.”

Her hermit’s cell was a simple structure with a window that opened onto the interior of the church and its altar, and another that opened for those who came to her from the street, seeking counsel and merely a listening ear. In this icon she is shown at the latter window with her cat, listening to those who come to her with their problems, fears, and woes.

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

Icon of the Week: Saint Patrick

March 17, 2014 Comments Off on Icon of the Week: Saint Patrick

Saint PatrickThe Lorica of Saint Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity
Through belief in the threeness
Through confession of the Oneness
Towards the creator.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension
Through the strength of his decent for the Judgement of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim
In obedience to the Angels,
In the service of the Archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of Holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun
Brilliance of moon
Splendor of fire
Speed of lightning
Swiftness of wind
Depth of sea
Stability of earth
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s host to secure me
against snares of devils
against temptations of vices
against inclinations of nature
against everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and anear,
alone and in a crowd.

A summon today all these powers between me and these evils
Against every cruel and merciless power that may oppose my body and my soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of heathenry,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that endangers man’s body and soul.

Christ to protect me today
against poison, against burning,
against drowning, against wounding,
so that there may come abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left
Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Thrones,
Through confession of the Oneness
Towards the Creator.

Salvation is of the Lord
Salvation is of the Lord
Salvation is of Christ
May thy salvation, O Lord, be ever with us

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)

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