One of the pillars of maintaining the faith “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3) is the iconography of the Orthodox Church. From the earliest times, icons have preserved our theology and kept us from error as Christians worshiping the one true God. And so in each Orthodox Church, the faithful make every effort to beautify the Temple with sacred icons. Here at St. John of Damascus Orthodox Church, we have just begun our iconography program with the completion of our iconostasis, the wall of icons joining the nave and the altar. It is the first step toward what will one day be the full compliment of iconography, covering the entire Temple.
Our next phase of iconography will be the apse, the domed space above the altar. Traditionally, this space is adorned with an image of the “Platytera” icon. This icon is an image of Christ enthroned within his mother Mary, the Theotokos. Her body becomes “more spacious than the heavens.” This image is surrounded by heavenly angels as well as the Holy Hierarchs of the Church who have given us “right belief” and the language of our divine services. Below is a rendering.
Once the apse is complete we will work toward completing the iconography on the wall immediately above the iconostasis before we move upward into the dome of the church with the icon of Christ, the ruler of all (Pantocrator). We will eventually have a schedule of the entire church as we prepare for each phase. Below is a rendering of the arched wall above the iconostasis with two options (Ascension or Pentecost).
Our iconographer is Ivan Rumiantsev. Born in Russia in 1972, Ivan came to St. Tikhon Monastery in Pennsylvania to teach after completing the program at the Moscow School of Fine Arts and an internship with a major in tempera art restoration in 1991. Ivan has become a widely sought-after iconographer not only by St. Tikhon’s Monastery but by churches across the country. https://sttikhonsmonastery.org/news_140913_1
Some future plans include icons of the Nativity and of the Resurrection on the north and south walls in the transept. The life of Christ will adorn the “barrel-vault” ceiling, and the Protection of the Theotokos is proposed for the west wall.
In order to move into the next phase of the iconography program we will need to raise the necessary funds. Here is a breakdown of the cost for the next phase:
- Platytera Icon with angels in apse $10,000
- Hierarchs in apse $6000
- Towels along bottom $1000
- Materials $1500
- Gold Leaf in apse $3500
- St. John of Damascus icon $2500
- St. John the Forerunner icon $2500
- Ascension or Pentecost Icon above Iconostasis $7000
- Annunciation Icon above Iconostasis $1500
As of August 2020, the balance of our iconography fund is $13,000 to begin the next phase. We are hoping to raise enough money to complete the apse which is a total cost of $22,000. Anything above that will be kept in the iconography fund for the next phase.
WAYS TO GIVE TOWARD THE ICONOGRAPHY PROGRAM
- DIRECT: Cash gifts and checks may simply be brought to our church with the designation that they are to be used for the “Iconography Fund”
- MAIL: If you wish to send your gifts, our mailing address is: St John of Damascus Orthodox Church, 12989 CR 1113, Tyler, TX 75709 (please indicate that they are intended for the Iconography Fund).
- ALTERNATIVE FORMS: Some donors have found creative ways to donate, such as in the form of stocks or bonds, which we are happy to accept.
- ONLINE GIVING: we use a service called “Tithe.ly” for web-based giving. Please note that while this is a handy and simple way to give, it does incur a fee which can affect the total amount that finds its way to our church. Click the button below to access our online giving service, and choose the “GIVE TO” pull-down menu option called “Iconography Fund”
“O Lord, I love the beauty of Thy house and the place where Thy glory dwells.”