Christianity / family

Icon Frescos and Personal Life

An Orthodox World of Art…

This Month an article was published detailing the Icon Fresco’s being “written” by Fr. Patrick Doolan, and his helper Fr. Moses- in a traditional manner on the very walls of a beautiful Christian Church in Santa Rosa named after the St. Seraphim of Sarov, who happens to be one of the most cherished saints of my childhood. Watching the processes unfold is a spiritual journey.

in the Altar Trimming

There is an intimate love story between the Icon and myself. Starting with my first introduction to the ancient Orthodox Christian Faith, my sister Jeannine being only 7 years at most, began to sketch the icon of St. John the Theologian who was written in the dome of the first Liturgical service we attended. The angel leaning over his shoulder speaking to St. John, the manuscript curling towards us, his eyes full of softness and wisdom. The stillness of the Icon seemed to portray a firm and unwavering truth. At the same time the four dimensional perspective  seemed to draw my soul heavenwards and into this window to Paradise.

A year later my small family wholeheartedly began the journey as Orthodox Christians, being baptized on the day commemorating the Repose of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, October 9th on the Old Calendar date.

It wasn’t until years later that we fell upon the old childish drawing, the first Icon my sister ever “wrote”. St John, our Patron Saint- around whom so many Slava’s(Serbian for Family Feast Day) were celebrated and Christ’s Blessings surrounded. The bring in, drawing near, and healing of so many years of family struggles and victories.

My sister pursued the Art of Iconography prayerfully and from a young age. I stood by her side, supportive- wanting to be different and unique I fought myself to ‘stay clear’ of Art. It was, after all- “her thing” I needed my own “thing” (or so I thought at the time).

She grew more and more fond of Iconography, wrote many for people dear to us, took a workshop taught by our dear nuns from the Life Giving Spring Monastery…continuing always to increase in her talent and knowledge on the subject.

Then came the Iconographer Vladimir Krassovsky, or Vova as we called him. Vova allowed several young children from our parish to help in the finishing touches and installation of several Large mural sized Icons which would cover the walls to the ceiling of our Altar.

I have a special fond memory of placing the gold leafing on the rays that emitted light surrounding the Theotokos on the high curvature of the altar apse. Together my Sister(Jeannine), God-sister(Julie) and I could be found- singing our hearts to Christ and his saints as we stared into their eyes, 40 feet off the ground, and literally in Heaven. The three of us- a little trinity of girls…would sing our most favorite hymns to the Mother of God. We would sing through the seasons of the Church and listen to it harmonize and echoing into the evening through to the next morning! I couldn’t have enough of it- I never wanted those moments to end. So began my interest in Art, and my experiences with Iconography. I long for them even now.

Here is a small piece of music sang by my sisters and I…

Let my Prayer Arise…

This photo was taken of my God-sister early in the morning on the day of my wedding…

Bridesmaid

My wedding day was a rainy day, full of dark ominous clouds. Until I stepped into my Julie’s car. We exchanged memories and talked about Jeannine…who had passed away from us not more than a year ago. Then as we prayed for the rain to cease, a ray of sun filled my lap…the flowers Jeannine had sewn and beaded for her own wedding- shown brightly. I knew she had sent her blessing for me, on this blessed day.

wedding day light

only Months later we returned to Jeanine’s grave and moved her to the Life Giving Spring Monastery for a reburial service. She was now to be with our dear nuns, who she loved so much…

reburial

Here Julie and I help to bury my Sister up at the Monastery…I was pregnant with my first child, though I didn’t know it at the time.

burial

Julie is now Sr. Julia and lives at a Skete in Alaska!!

guitar

I of course went on to become an Artist, Wife and Mother of four children…

motherhood

Sr. Julia visits us now and then, I miss her so!!!

st julia visits

And as is our custom, I still find feathers from my sister(she sends them when I need her the most). She used to collect feathers, ever since she passed they have become an endearing reminder of her presence in my life.

Jeannine's feathers

In Memory of Jeannine.

Jeannine Michelle

On other occasions we transported Icons that would be placed on our newly hand-carved Iconostas. As the years passed Vova always requested us girls when he needed to bring more Icon to our Church. My bond was growing. I longed to learn under a Master Iconographer myself some day!

Jeannine and I took turns taking Iconography classes, either studying under the nuns, or Greek Masters of the Orthodox Art form. Each time I would gaze into these windows to heaven I felt called to spend my life with them, making them, Praying with them.

I have little time to put towards them anymore. I miss it!! And I still long for a day when I can devote myself to it again…

I’ve been walking down a road of nostalgia lately.

finishing touches with Vova

Here I am helping Vova touch up the whites…

detailing the white DSC_0236

Julie and I working hard to prepare the Icons for the church…

working late

My Mother looking on…

mother looking on

We were in the habit of decorating our Icons especially for special feast days.

decorating the Icons

Here is her Icon…I miss this particular Icon of the Theotokos(Mother of God).

I miss her

Lately I have only had time for small projects such as these Christmas cards…

icon cards

And finally, here is the Master Iconographer writing these most majestic Icons in Santa Rosa!!!

Santa Rosa Iconography

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2 thoughts on “Icon Frescos and Personal Life

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