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Glory to Jesus Christ!
This is my first post, but thought I would express my intentions first. I am an OFS (Secular Franciscan) candidate that is going to a UGCC (Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church) mission. I have used the Sisters of St. Elizabeth Convent to make me a Byzantine icon of the Theotokos with seven arrows with Christ the pantocrator on a 32" by 24" icon. I have two projects that I am designing so that I can have an Eastern Catholic iconographer make it. However, I have found two Catholic iconographers (one is a Benedictine nun) in the UK that are not Eastern, but who do respect and can make the icon in the Byzantine or Russian form.

The two projects I have in mind are to create an icon of Sts. Clare and Francis of Assisi and another icon in a triptych of Sts. Francis and Dominic on the door panel and the center being the Crucifixion with the Theotokos and St. John the Beloved. I want both icons to display the Western saints in as true and strict Byzantine form. I am to understand that objects that a saint holds are instruments of salvation, such as a cross is for a marytr, the Gospel for a bishop, a crosier in some Russian bishops, an incense censure and stole for a deacon, etc..

Since I am going to save up for the Sts. Clare and Francis icon first, I wanted to ask a few questions in regards to what these two saints can hold in their hands or how their hands are placed or formed.

1) Can St. Clare hold a monstrance due to the miracle that warded off the invasion of the Saracens? What other object can a female such as her hold by precedence in Byzantine iconography?

2) Since St. Francis was a deacon in order to establish his order, I wonder if he ever used the stole and incense censure back in 1220s and how would the stole look with his habit? I have not seen many versions of St. Francis with a stole or incense, so I don't know if I want to set a precedence or not. Can he as a deacon be able to hold the Gospel with his habit vestment or bare hand and the other hand not can he form it in the traditional means of offering a blessing? If he cannot hold the Gospel in his hand, then I am thinking of having him hold a scroll in hand with the top of the scroll going over his shoulder with the prayer before the San Damiano Crucifix "Summe Deus Illumina Tenebras Cordis Mei...".

Any help on the theology of icons regarding how St. Francis can in an icon bridge Eastern and Western symbolism would be of great help in my discussion with the Catholic iconographers.
Pax Et Bonum (Peace and All Good),
Glory Forever!

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Glory be to Jesus Chrsit!!

Welcome to the forum.

Bob
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Thank you. I am glad that such a forum exists. I do plan to request an official transfer to the Ukrainian eparchy but after I graduate. God is surely moving, and I feel great joy at all the things God does for us. Are there a few iconographers that come to his site?

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Hello, Colm Cille

First of all you can be inspired by the lifetime portrait of St. Francis in Subiaco Monastery (Sacro Speco). He was depicted on the frescoe in 1222 without nimbus.
http://www.paradoxplace.com/Perspectives/Rome%20&%20Central%20Italy/Subiaco/Subiaco.htm

Examples of byzantine iconography of the saint do exist. But it takes time to collect them.

For example, frescoe in Panagya Kera Church in Crete http://www.flickr.com/photos/nickkaye/4077708675/


Here are some modern and also ancient images:

http://alessio-v.livejournal.com/70723.html

http://s44.radikal.ru/i106/1201/a6/c0761a48b925.jpg

If you want to create an icon in byzantine style, I can advise you to pay attention to the work of a very good modern iconographer archimandrite Zinone. The style is truly bizantine and iconography is correct
http://alessio-v.livejournal.com/pics/catalog/453/13152


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Colm Cille,

Welcome to the forum.

I don't want to discourage you in your quest but I'd be disingenuous were I not to forewarn you that a fair number of Eastern Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox, will tell you that Western Saints aren't properly the subjects of iconography - even if they themselves have personal devotion to those Saints.

By the same token, though, you'll find others (more Catholics, but some Orthodox) who will consider it acceptable, so long as the styling is consistent with iconographic 'norms' (for lack of a better term in these early morning and sleepy hours in which I'm writing).

There are a few Western iconographers - some respected, others derided - who regularly paint or write icons of Western saints. Should you encounter any of these (most often, but not always. found on commercial sites), it wouldn't hurt to inquire here as to what is known of them/their work.

To answer your question, we have several forum members who are iconographers, Ray Mastroberte who posts as 70X7 being the one who comes most readily to mind.

Our sister and friend from Russia, Nataly, whose wonderful contributions to the Iconography forum are very much appreciated, has kindly offered you some excellent links.

To go back for a moment to your query about St Clare - while I'm not a big fan of Western Saints as the subject of icons, I can't say that I'm a diehard opponent of it, as there are a few to which I'm partial. However, I'd personally find an iconographic depiction of St Clare holding a monstrance as unacceptable, given that the monstrance is foreign to Byzantine praxis.

(Although you can find instances of its use, it was a latinization that has pretty much disappeared and the mix and match of Byzantine styling with Latin liturgical vessels would be pretty incongruous to my mind.)

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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Neil,

I can understand why a good number of Orthodox would object to icons of Western saints, the reason being that the Orthodox Church does not officially recognize saints outside of the Orthodox Church. Why would an Eastern Catholic object to icons of Roman Catholic saints? Simply because a saint is from another "particular church" of the Catholic Church? And what would be the alternative--saccharine holy cards and plaster statues?

Fr. David

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Originally Posted by Chtec
I can understand why a good number of Orthodox would object to icons of Western saints, the reason being that the Orthodox Church does not officially recognize saints outside of the Orthodox Church. Why would an Eastern Catholic object to icons of Roman Catholic saints? Simply because a saint is from another "particular church" of the Catholic Church? And what would be the alternative--saccharine holy cards and plaster statues?


Bless, Father David,

As we both know, purists are found in all sorts of garb. I think that it's generally a sense that iconographic renderings of Western Saints infringe on our tradition when, in fact, one could instead take the view that imitation is the purest form of flattery.

Admittedly, one more commonly sees iconography in Western Catholic settings than was once the case - but much of it is not well-executed and that, too, evokes negative responses.

As I suggested above, I'm much less bothered by it than I once was, but my reaction is still one of cautious acceptance. My appreciation is unquestionably greater when I see such an icon painted in a style which suggests that the iconographer knows what he or she is about - and, selfishly (and, I suppose, irrationally) I am most likely to reserve my most positive response for icons of those Western Saints to whom I have a strong personal devotion (e.g., Saint Kateri Tekawitha, Saint Damien of Molokai, Blessed Sister Sara Salkahazi, Blessed Pope John XXIII, Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Blessed Father Jerzy Popiełuszko)*.

Now there's an answer that really isn't one blush - but, best that I can do.

Many years,

Neil (who probably is ok w/ plaster statues and saccharine holy cards, if those are what satisfy the devotional needs of his Latin brethren)

*and they aren't always easy to find - regretably, folks like Monastery Icons and Robert Lentz seem most inclined to produce icons of these hallowed personages.


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The Dec. 1, 2013 edition of L'Osservatore Romano has a photo of His Holiness Francis receiving an icon of Saint Francis of Assisi from His Beatitude Gregory III.
I am guessing that the icon was commissioned by His Beatitude for the occasion. It looks quite nice.


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