” … although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” Luke 10:21
In Scripture we are asked to approach life in a childlike manner–the announcement made over the loudspeaker that the “icon ornament room” was open brought a tidal wave of children into the conference room at the Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City, MD signaling adults to become childlike. The excitement from the energy of the children in the room, all very eager to create, brought the inner child out in all who entered.
Glory to God to be able to introduce the small souls and their families to the concepts and processes of iconography through very simplified means using paper, glue, colored pencils and crayons as the mediums; truly a delight to the heart to watch the Light shine forth from little beings.
This year we brought 200 images of Theotokos Tenderness, angels and the infant Jesus for families to decorate in any manner they chose, praying as they applied their images to backgrounds of construction paper. Parents jiggling babies on their knees pressed crayons to paper, teens giggling as they delved into their projects, little kids thoughtfully choosing the colors; it was glorious!
The day was spent talking to the wee ones, teenagers and their parents about why we pray while we work on icons, the process of using egg yolk and wine to mix with ground pigments and how important this method of prayer is in creating the “windows to Heaven.”
The icon of Archangel Michael made by the hand of Vladislav Andrejev is used to show the outcome of such “windows” along with photographs of step-by-step applications coupled with prayer and theology explains the process in visual detail. Many folks were interested in learning to make an icon in a workshop for their own homes to establish a prayer corner, we hope to see them create an icon in the next Prosopon workshop April, 2017.
There is something truly special about Byzantine icon images that capture and keep attention focused on Christ and it is our continued prayer to touch every heart through prayers in pigment. A young Mother who attended last year let us know that the image of Theotokos Tenderness her children made is still hanging in their living room. “We just couldn’t take her down!” We understand.