“Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might” (Eccl. 9:10)
Session 2 and 3 students have been working on The White Angel and Mary Untier of Knots. Social distancing caused the classes to be virtual and yet accomplished. ArchBishop Joseph of New York and Metropolitan of All of America expressed a TRUE image defining our situation: Although our time of social distancing is not quite the same type of asceticism as St. Mary of Egypt, let us treat it as a sacrificial offering of love to God and our neighbor. We hope that this will be a time reminiscent of the home churches of the early days of Christianity and that there may be a hidden blessing of families being together to pray and nurture one another in the Faith. Let us continue our work of prayer, repentance, and almsgiving during this time, and beseech God to grant us to come together once again, as those monks of the Sinai desert, to commemorate His Life-Giving and Saving Passion and Glorious Third-Day Resurrection.
My Paschal prayer in the contemplations of new commissions and student efforts while writing their icon as a lenten discipline in our homes at this time, is for the stone to be rolled away from our own hearts as we prepare to greet the Lord’s Pascha wherever we are. To be grateful to enter into the work of our icons especially now where we must rely on Christ’s resurrection to be so intimately connected to our own baptism; says the Apostle Paul, “is our participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, our entry into living ‘in Christ’.” And that Living in the Light of Pascha being so fundamental to our sense of who we are as Christians.
Here I share the work of student’s icons (some in class, some written outside of class and some unfinished) and their messages. Their icons speak their hearts….
I look forward to the Lenten class.
I’m so grateful I have my icons for my home altar.
From Sister Carrie,
Pictured- last year’s session 3; Icon of St. Mary Magdalene
This year- Icon of Mary Untier of Knots- What a perfect icon to write when our world is in knots. Being in isolation provides time to focus. Mary, untier of Knots, pray for us!
From Tina –
Icon of Mother Do Not Weep for Me (Weep Not For Me)
My next icon will be Our Lady of Consolation also known as Mary of Buen Suceso of the Purification. Her origins go back to the 17th century in Spain and also Ecuador. Archbishop Hebda has specially proclaimed her as one who will intercede for us in this time of distress. I have an icon board that has an arched top on it that will be perfect.
For the last couple years, I’ve been painting and studying this icon as a reflection for Good Friday. It reminds me of the unwavering love a mother has for their children. The expression on Mary’s face is what I’ve seen on countless mothers faces as they see their sons or daughters struggle in the NICUs & PICUs. The love goes deep and the mother wants nothing more than to comfort and take the suffering away from their child. The icon called “weep not for me” is a reflection of how Christ calls out to her mother to weep not for him, for he shall arise and be glorified. I am reminded that our children are strong and will rise up through adversities, whether in this life or the life to come. God is with us, suffering with us & comforting us.
Here is an excerpt from a 13th century prayer about this image (Stabat Mater).
At the cross her station keeping.
Stood the mournful Mother weeping
Close to Jesus to the last.
Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that mother’s pain untold?
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
She beheld her tender Child,
All with bloody scourges rent.
O sweet Mother! Font of love,
Touch my spirit from above,
Make my heart with yours accord.
Make me feel as you have felt:
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.
Here is a write up from my iconography teacher (Deb):
This icon portrays the Mother of God who is weeping for her Son during his burial. However, this image does not only speak of suffering and sorrows. The name of the icon Weep Not For Me, O Mother is a quote from the heirmos of Ode 9 of the Canon of Holy Saturday:
“Weep not for Me, O Mother, beholding in the tomb… for I shall arise and shall be glorified, and as God I shall exalt with glory unceasing those that with faith and love magnify thee.”
The words of comfort and promises of the imminent Resurrection are anticipated. Neither death, nor hell can contain the God-man, which is why Christ is shown half-length in the tomb.
Thank you, I still think my lines are wobbly and such. Thank you, Deb.
The White Angel Icon
About this icon
The White Angel is believed to be Archangel Gabriel, sitting at the entrance of Christ’s empty tomb, announcing His resurrection to the myrrh-bearing women.
The prototype for this icon is a detail of a fresco from the Mileseva monastery circa 1230 AD in Serbia, called Myrrhbearers on Christ’s Grave or the Holy Women at the Tomb.
About the White Angel
Sitting calmly, the angel of the Resurrection points out the empty tomb to the holy women, who withdrew in terror on beholding the sight. He then commanded them to tell the disciples that Christ has risen from the dead. The scene is best described by the passage from the gospel that the fresco depicts.
“And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning on the first day of the week, they came to the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll away the stone from the door of the sepulchre for us? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment [White Angel]; and they were frightened. And he said to them, Do not be frightened: You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goes before you into Galilee: there you shall see him, as he said to you.” The Gospel according to Mark chapter 16.
CHRIST IS RISEN!
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