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  1. Laura

    I’m a convert, and I find these “folk icons” to be wonderful expressions of the truth that has been given us, and is taught always, everywhere, by all. The writers of these icons made this truth their own. And these icons testify to the evangelism offered within the context of their time and place: they gave to their homes and to their community The Gospel. Now it comes to us. I look forward to a time when a more indigenous Orthodoxy in America is given its “nihil obstat and imprimatur”/Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval and more icon writers, hymnographers, liturgists, embroiderers, weavers, sculptors, artisans of all types are embraced and encouraged within the rubrics of canonicity. I look forward to a flowering of Orthodox arts here in America that is informed by the past but not bound to it.

    One of our parishioners is a prisoner in the state prison here. He is writing icons there using, as best he can, those means open to him: books, and other icons allowed him by the state and the teaching our Priest can offer him during his visits. His icons are available at our Parish bookstore. His ability has grown in the years I’ve been here, but it’s obvious what his limitations are. He will never be able to attend any workshops, given his sentence, nor will a workshop be coming to him…save God grants him a miracle. But his icons are lovely and of the same “dushevnost” as those depicted here.

    Perhaps, one of the reasons converts buy the printed icons that are so readily available is because more ethnic Orthodox push the rubric of “NEED ICON CORNER” so hard. It’s second only to THOU SHALT FAST! I know when I converted, this was a real pressure from the jurisdiction I first encountered. The idea that there was something, well, lacking between printed and painted icons wasn’t an issue. It was a requirement for me to set up my icon corner immediately, if not sooner. And if I couldn’t afford the printed icons, I could download images from my computer, print them, and tack them up on my wall. I guess copyrights are a non-issue as well? In any case, I’ve managed to buy two hand-painted icons and I am slowly purchasing others… And, golly! they make such nice baptismal/chrismation gifts!


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