22 July 2016

Saint Mary Magdalene, Myrrh-bearer and Equal-to-the-Apostles

Saint Mary Magdalene, Myrrh-bearer and Equal-to-the-Apostles, was from Magdala near Galilee. Our Lord cast out seven demons which were afflicting her, and she followed Him for the rest of her life. Even when the disciples abandoned Jesus at the Cross, she faithfully stayed by His side. She came to the Lord's tomb to minister to Him one last time and anoint His body. When she found the tomb empty, she ran to the disciples to preach the Resurrection for the first time in history. For this, she is known as "The Apostle to the Apostles."

20 July 2016

Holy Prophet Elias

I recently finished this icon of the Holy Prophet Elias. He is sitting in the wilderness, being fed by divine providence. The composition is based on a 16th c. icon on Mount Athos by Michael Damaskinos. Rocky terrain is always a joy to paint, and this icon gave me plenty of opportunity! This icon is available for purchase--please contact me if interested!
On July 20 in the Holy Orthodox Church, we commemorate the fiery ascent as it were into the Heaven of the holy and glorious Elias (Elijah) the Tishbite.

Elias was born in the town of Tishba for which he was called the Tishbite. When Elias was born, his father Savah saw an angel of God hovering around the child, wrapping the child in fire and giving him a flame to eat. This foreshadowed Elias’s fiery character and his God-given fiery power. Elias confronted the Israelite King Ahab and his evil wife Jezebel. They worshipped idols and were turning the people away from serving the One and Living God. Jezebel, a Syrian, persuaded her husband to erect a temple to the Syrian god Baal. Through great miracles Elias displayed the power and authority of God: he closed up the heavens, so that there was not any rain for three years and six months; he lowered a fire from heaven and burned the sacrifice to his God which the pagan priests of Baal were unable to do; he accurately prophesied to Ahab that the dogs will lick up his blood and to Jezebel that the dogs will consume her flesh. Before his death Elias took Elisha and designated him as his successor in the prophetic calling. Elias was taken up into the heavens in a fiery chariot by flaming horses. He appeared on Mount Tabor to our Lord Jesus Christ together with Moses on the Transfiguration. Before the end of the world Elias will appear again to put an end to the power of the anti-Christ (Revelation, Chapter 11).
By the intercessions of Thy Saint, O Christ our God, have mercy on us. Amen.

11 July 2016

Saint Ronan of Locronan

Saint Ronan of Locronan.

One of the great joys of being an iconographer is meeting wonderful saints whom I most likely would not have encountered if I had not been commissioned to paint their icons. One such saint is Ronan, whose icon I just finished. He was the son of St. Berach (a disciple of St. Kevin), and was a renowned Irish bishop in the sixth century. To draw closer to God, he chose a voluntary exile to a faraway land to live as a hermit, like his contemporary St. Brendan the Navigator. He landed in what is today Brittany, France, and lived the ascetic life of a hermit. A community grew around his hermitage, known today as Locronan, that is, "the place of Ronan."

09 July 2016

Saint Joseph of Damascus

Saint Joseph, a priest in Damascus (Syria), competed victoriously for Christ, winning the crown of martyrdom in a great persecution July 10, 1860. Instead of fleeing the massacre, as other able Christians did (including the parents of St. Raphael of Brooklyn), he stayed behind to confess and commune those Christians about to be slaughtered because they were too old or too ill to flee to safety. Running from rooftop to rooftop to minister the Holy Gifts to his flock, the persecutors caught up with him, and he consumed the remaining Holy Communion before being hacked apart by axes. Let us not forget the Christians in Syria who, at this very moment, are being martyred for Christ by the very same demonic insanity that slaughtered Saint Joseph and his companions over 150 years ago.