Deisis. Acrylic and gold on birch panels. 18x12 inches (45x30cm)
I recently finished this Deisis with Saints Nicholas and Patrick. Deisis (Greek: δέησις, "prayer" or "supplication") is a traditional depiction in Byzantine iconography of Christ Pantocrator enthroned, flanked by the Theotokos and St. John the Baptist in prayer. Often, other saints are featured in prayer to Christ.
Great are the accomplishments of faith, for the Three Holy Youths rejoiced in the fountain of flames as though in the waters of rest; and the prophet Daniel appeared, a shepherd to the lions as though they were sheep. So by their prayers, O Christ God, save our souls!
Acrylic and Gold on gessoed birch panel. 18x24 inches (45x60cm)
And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord (Luke 1:38). Here indeed, brethren, is a true handmaid of the Lord! If a handmaid is she who exchanges her will completely for the will of her Lord, then the Most-holy Virgin is the first among all of the Lord's handmaids. If a handmaid is she who, with intent and with complete attention, beholds her Lord, then again the Most-holy Virgin is the first among the handmaids of the Lord. If a handmaid is one who meekly and quietly endures all insults and trials, awaiting only the reward of her Lord, then again and again the Most-holy Virgin is the first and most excellent of all the handmaids of the Lord. She did not care to please the world, but only God; nor did she care to justify herself before the world, but only before God. She herself is obedience; she herself is service; she herself is meekness. The Most-holy Virgin could in truth say to the angel of God: Behold the handmaid of the Lord. The greatest perfection, and the greatest honor that a woman can attain on earth, is to be a handmaid of the Lord. Eve lost this perfection and honor in Paradise without effort, and the Virgin Mary achieved this perfection and this honor outside Paradise with her efforts. Through the prayers of the Most-holy Virgin Theotokos, O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen. Source: St. Nikolai Velomirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid, Volume 2.
I just finished the icon of Saint Dymphna, a 7th century Irish princess and martyr. She was a Christian, but her father, a king, was a pagan. After her Christian mother died, her father searched far and wide for a new wife as beautiful as his first. He listened to the demonic idea of marrying his daughter. Dymphna fled to the continent along with her spiritual father Gerebernus and ended up in present-day Geel, Belgium. There, she founded a hospice for the poor and sick, building it with her royal wealth. Her father was able to trace the coins back to her. He arrived, ordered Father Gerebernus to be killed, then forced his 15-year-old daughter to marry him. When she refused, he beheaded her himself. Her feast day is May 15.
Throughout the centuries, St. Dymphna's hospice in Geel evolved into a place of treatment for the mentally ill from all over Europe. These pilgrims were called as "boarders" rather than "patients" and lived with the town's residents. St. Dymphna is known as a patron saint of mental health and illness.
I used celtic motifs in her brocade and inscribed into the gold, as well as an Irish uncial script. The cross represents her martyrdom in shedding her blood, the green represents her homeland of Ireland, and the white represents her virginity and purity, and can also represent her white martyrdom of leaving her homeland on a self-imposed exile. This icon is based on icons of other royal virgin-martyrs, especially Ss. Katherine (whom we celebrate today) and Barbara. While not royalty, St. Markella of Chios has an almost identical story; she was martyred by her father who wanted to marry her.
Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne (+651) was a monk, missionary, and bishop, who brought Christianity back to the people of Northumbria. He was Irish, and was a monk on Iona who was called by King Oswald to reintroduce Christianity to Northumbria. He founded the monastery at Lindisfarne and travelled ceaselessly to bring the pagan Anglo-Saxons to the True Faith. In this icon, which I recently finished, he is holding the Lindisfarne Gospels, a masterpiece of Hiberno-Saxon art, which was produced in his monastery soon after his repose. The gold background features celtic knotwork.