For an Orthodox Christian, the presence of iconographic depictions of Jesus, His mother, specific events in his life, and the saints, are about as familiar as sitting down with family for a festive meal; it is something that seems normal. In fact going to a church without icons can seem almost strange and as isolated as having dinner in ones room away from everyone in the family.
In the same way that a family bears witness (or should bear witness) to relationships build upon love and thanksgiving when together, it is the saints, those men and women who’s lives have manifested a life in Christ, that bear witness to the relationship of love that the Lord desires to have with humanity, in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Like family around the dinning room table, we surround the mystical table not just with our family and friends, but also with the saints, as witnessed in the icons of them.
Icons of the Lord, His mother, and the saints, manifest that “great cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1) for us, and express the communion with the divine through colour and sculpture, the same way that the Gospel message of the Lord’s love for humanity is expressed through language and print. Yet at St. Nicholas in Narol, our principle structure for icons (the icon screen or iconostas) is sadly lacking. Our parish is truly a beautiful one, and they are so many elements that speak volumes as to the care and consideration the faithful have invested themselves in is their home, but it like a beautifully set table that is missing people, missing Icons.
For the past year we have started a program of commissioning icons to accommodate the relics of saints we have been blessed to have (St. Gregory Palams, St. Herman of Alaska, St John of Suchava, and St. Tikhon of Moscow). The next stage is to insure that our iconostas in fact has Icons on it.
With the assistance and guidance of the studio of Alexey and Elena Gormartely (who have painted the icons for our relics), a program has been adopted and approved to be started.
The first stage of our program is the painting of the mystical supper, and the twelve feasts.
The second stage is the Deisis of Christ enthroned with the Theotokos and St. John the baptist, and the twelve apostles. The third stage are Icons of the Annunciation and the four evangelists for the royal doors.
Over the next few years, we will be fundraising for this project, as well as we are offering the opportunity for the faithful, and friends of our community to sponsor an Icon in memory of departed family and friends, and in thanksgiving for the Lord’s saving work in their lives.
Please prayerfully consider with your family and friends sponsoring an Icon in remembrance and/or thanksgiving, that we might manifest that “cloud of witnesses”, in images of the saints, as communicants with us in the eternal victory of the Lord over sin and death.
For more information and pricing of the icons, please contact StNicholasofNarol@gmail.com or PriestGregoryScratch@gmail.com
May the Lord bless your offerings with peace and joy.