Heart of the Icon Vol. 1 (Autumn) 2017

Creating a Synthesis of Iconographical Topics and Liturgical Practice of the Church

In 2013, as a Bishop of Braničevo (Serbia), I asked Fr. Stamatis Skliris to illustrate the scenes of the life of Christ at Saint Maximus of Kostolac Church, with the goal of creating a synthesis of iconographic topics with the liturgical practice of the Church.

In the presentation of the Nativity of Christ, the Nativity scene was drawn in the middle of the cave, according to the Tradition. The difference (with preexisting wall paintings) lies in the new way of presenting the wise men and shepherds: they are depicted with the local Church as “entering” with the Bishop, the Priests and the people, all of them received by Saint Joseph in front of the cave, who served the mystery of Incarnation.

In the composition of the Meeting of the Lord (Hypapante), Fr. Stamatis was asked to illustrate on the bottom part the Virgin Mary’s parents; in the middle, we see the traditional Meeting (Hypapante) fresco, while at the top we gaze the Christ as the High Priest who is receiving the holy Gifts from a priest, during the Great Entrance of the Liturgy.

In the Baptism, the iconographer will paint Christ as being baptized by Saint John in a traditional manner; however, at the bottom part of the wall painting (fresco) he will add the bishop, with the local Church, blessing the waters with the Cross, for which the children will jump in the river to catch, according to the liturgical customs.

Finally, at the Resurrection, on the bottom level, the resurrectional liturgy will be painted with the clergy and the people holding lite candles and lanterns; at the middle level, he will illustrate the traditional image of Christ’s decent to Hades, and at the top level he will paint the triumph of the holy Angels.

This idea is original and, we believe, has never been painted before. Hopefully, it presents and very successfully reveals how the actions in the Liturgy of every feast drive us to the eschatological truth and triumph of the feast.

Bishop of Braničevo Ignatije Midić

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