More Blessings – St. Mary’s Icon School
Back row (Left to right): Eric (with a commissioned icon of the Virgin of the Sweet Kiss for his daughter); Bella with Archangel Raphael; Gina with St. Gregory;Rona with Prophet Joel; Fr. Shane with a very happy smile; Alison with St. Bridget of Sweden; Simon with St. Agnes; Colin with Christ Pantocrator.
Front row (Left to right): Margaret with St John the Baptist; Debbie with St. Nicholas; Pam with St. John the Baptist; Jan with Prophet Elijah; Amy with Mary Magdalen and Carolyn with St Antony.
Teacher is taking the photo! All standing in front of the reredos of St. Mary’s high altar.
The evening of Wednesday 18th July, 2012 was one to remember for the St. Mary’s Icon School. After two terms of hard work, mild to severe frustrations, sudden insights and finally a feeling of joy our bevy of saints and prophets were completed pretty much and were ready to be blessed by Fr. Shane.
This was a wonderful evening and everyone was in an excited and uplifted mood as Fr. Shane came to inspect the icons with Eric who lives locally and is a restoration architect of some repute, who has come to love the icons dearly and is a regular visitor having coffee with me most Wednesdays I am in residence.
They had not seen the icons at all and Fr. Shane was not sure what to expect as I had been doing a lot of other community artwork that entailed much free expression and rather chaotic compositions. However, he was completed astounded by the quality of the work and ability of the students – a large number of whom are not artists at all and some have never even used a paintbrush before.
When we were all assembled in front of the altar I was expecting a general blessing for all thirteen icons but Fr. Shane had other plans. He started with a general blessing and prayer of thanksgiving and then went on to bless each and every icon by name individually with oil of Chrism. He found words specific and appropriate for each one and I could see how valued and touched every student was. It was simply the most beautiful feeling of us all gathered together with our beloved saints and prophets.
Every one of the students absolutely loves their icon though there were times during the working up of the images of complete frustration and some crossness at the pigments – Alison and ‘that blue!’ springs to mind often and makes me chuckle. ‘This is soo hard!’ Carolyn, after a few weeks into the layer of chaos and seeing no progress, because it takes some time of careful building up to see any results that are appealing.
There were many comments and discoveries during the course. As the weeks went on I began to see students asking each other how they had achieved certain effects and was pleased as to how they were sharing and informing each other. There was a lot of giggling at times and also moments of highly focused and silent work. They have all enjoyed and learned so much, not just about iconography but about their particular saint or prophet and also the personal journey of the soul.
Word is spreading about the school to others. I have been told to put out a booking form for next term at the exhibition and party we are holding shortly. Some, who missed the introductory term are wanting to return to do that and Michaela, Fr. Shane’s wife, nabbed me on Sunday and is eager to give it a go next term too – all a very promising start for this new venture.
After the blessing we went back to work on final touches but Fr. Shane had not quite finished with us yet. He presented me with a dear woven bookmark from Hagia Sophia embellished with a Virgin and then he had a handful of silver crosses with Christ crucified on them. He told us he was in Rome with his colleagues and they had been granted an audience with the Pope and were standing less than two meters away from His Holiness. These crosses were blessed by the Pope and he then gave each of us one of these most precious gifts. Hearts were melted en masse.
Fr. Shane you are our hero and we all love you! St. Mary’s Icon School, Aylesbury, UK.
Below – with teacher. Thanks for taking picture Amy!
This entry was posted on July 23, 2012 by apocalypseicons. It was filed under Artist in Residence, Icon School and was tagged with blessing, Fr. Shane Wood, Icon school, iconography, icons, Pope, prophets, saints, St Mary's Aylesbury.