A companion to the Iconographer’s Patternbook: The Stroganov Edition. Traditional patterns of saints, feast days, and other instructional material from ancient sources to the 17th century and a must for all interested in icons and theology.
This Patternbook includes never-before published information about appropriate quotes on saints’ scrolls, the physical appearance of Christ and the Virgin Mary from early sources, rules of iconography, and related theology from early councils and writers.
Ecclesiasticus II: Orthodox Icons, Saints, Feasts and Prayer brings together essays, which were delivered on various occasions and are arranged into four general topics-hence the subtitle. The first section on Icons offers an introductory lecture on the iconoclastic dispute with a select (updated) bibliography and a fresh exposition, on the basis of the original text of St. John of Damascus’ Defense of the Icons. The second section on Saints represents an introduction to Orthodox Hagiography, which was prepared for the Orthodox-Reformed Dialogue, and offers an extensive bibliography on the subject. The third section on Feasts is a general presentation of the major movable and immovable feasts of the Orthodox liturgical years and dovetails with the section on the Saints. Finally, the fourth section on Prayer offers two expositions of the Lord’s Prayer, one by St. Maximos the Confessor and another by St. Macarios of Corinth, which are representative of the patristic understanding of this Prayer that constitutes the basis of Orthodox spirituality.
During the darkest years of Soviet power, iconographers kept alive one of Russia’s brightest lights—the icon
“The 1920s and 1930s were a time of mass arrests and executions. With churches demolished and defiled and monasteries disbanded, there was every reason to fear for the continued existence of the Church itself. Meanwhile, revisionist propaganda was decimating the clergy; the authorities were waging a campaign of anti-religious sentiment in every corner of the country. Not the best time, one would think, to be painting icons…” —from the book
Skillfully translated from the Russian by Paul Grenier, this dramatic history recounts how the very heartbeat of Russian Orthodox art and spirituality–the icon–survived throughout the 20th century. Adopted from Byzantine tradition, Russian iconography continued to keep faith alive in Soviet Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. As monasteries and churches were ruined, icons destroyed, thousands of believers killed or sent to Soviet prisons and labor camps, a few courageous iconographers continued to paint holy images secretly, despite the ever-present threat of arrest. Others were forced to leave Russia altogether, and while living abroad, struggled to preserve their Orthodox traditions. Today we are witness to a renaissance of the Russian icon, made possible by the sacrifices of this previous generation of heroes.
A blinding flash of theological illumination has come out of Russia. The subject of Hidden and Triumphant is the history of icon painting in Russia. How did this ancient tradition, at the center of Russian spirituality, survive seventy years of persecution in the 20th century? It almost didn’t, but the renewal of the tradition in the last twenty years is a remarkable story, beautifully told by Irina Yazykova. The introduction contains the best theology of the icon I have ever read.
Canon Michael Bordeaux, founder, Oxford Keston Institute, UK
Ikon as Scripture: A Scriptural and Spiritual Understanding of Orthodox Christian Iconography Author: Puhalo, Lazar Publisher: Synaxis Press
Image of God the Father in Orthodox Theology and Iconography and Other Studies Author: Bigham, Steven Publisher: Oakwood Publications
The author has selected, photographed, and commented on more than one hundred representative works of the gifted iconographer Leonid Ouspensky (1902-1987), who rediscovered the sources of Orthodox Christian iconography and painted icons of immense theological and spiritual import. The volume includes a powerful biography by the iconographer’s spouse, Lydia Ouspensky, and a moving recollection of the master iconographer’s approach to icon painting, by his student, the author Monk Patrick.
Leonid Ouspensky (1902-1987) settled in France following the Russian Revolution and worked as a talented but struggling commercial painter prior to discovering the icon, which became his life’s work. Orthodox iconography had been in full decline since the seventeenth century, and Ouspensky set out to rediscover the genuine sources of Eastern Christian art and to recover the tradition that had spawned them.
On a practical level, through detailed study of the most representative ancient icons, and on a theological level, through deep study of the dogmatic foundations of the icon, Ouspensky produced his monumental book, Theology of the Icon (Théologie de l’icône). The book was later translated into English, Italian, Greek, Romanian, and Polish, and posthumously in Russian, and remains a major reference and influence in the field.
Ouspensky painted numerous icons himself, which are characterized by perfection of technique, purity of style, and depth of theological and spiritual expression. These icons are dispersed throughout various churches and private collections.
For more than forty years, Ouspensky taught iconography in Paris to pupils who came from the whole world. They consistently heard his humble admonition: “The old icons are the best teachers.” Some of these pupils subsequently founded schools in their countries of origin, and spread Ouspensky’s influence abroad, including the author of this volume. An icon was not to [Ouspensky] an aesthetic creation, but a vision in lines and colors of the Divine World, and it pervaded, conquered, and transfigured the fallen world.– Foreword by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom