Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Russian Icons at Knights of Columbus Museum

00 Unknown Artist. Mother of God 'of Konevskaya'. 19th century Russian.

Mother of God “of Konevskaya”

Unknown Artist

19th century

Russian

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Orthodox Christians revere Russian icons as sacred devotional pieces. However, to others around the world, they’re magnificent treasures, collected and cherished for their beauty, artistry, and history. Simply put, the appeal of Russian icons is international, extending beyond religious or ethnic background. With this in mind, the museum at Knights of Columbus International Headquarters in New Haven CT (where the organisation was founded) is presenting Windows into Heaven: Russian Icons and Treasures, which will run for more than a year… through 27 April 2014. The exhibition opened in time for Orthodox Easter on Sunday, 5 May. Many Orthodox Christian churches, including the Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox churches, celebrate Easter Sunday based on the Julian calendar.

The exhibition features about 325 icons and liturgical pieces, most of which are on loan from a private collector who requested to remain anonymous. A few pieces are from the museum’s permanent collection. Museum Curator Mary Lou Cummings said the exhibition is visually stunning, no matter how one views iconography. The exhibition points out that iconographic customs have endured for more than a millennium and that they “offer a story of spirituality, tradition and cultures, shaped by the triumphs and struggle of Russian Christians through their country’s 12 centuries”, according to information provided in the exhibition.

The museum said in a statement, “Orthodox Christianity, adopted from the Byzantine Empire (sic) in Constantinople (now Istanbul), was instituted as the state religion in Kiev by Prince Vladimir in 988 AD, and spread across all of Russia. One of the most important elements of the Orthodox faith that followed from Constantinople was the sacred art of iconography. These highly-venerated images spread across Russia … fostering religious understanding and devotion among the people of Kievan Rus in the present-day Ukraine, Belarus, and northwest Russia … with nearly every home having a sacred (or prayer) corner containing one or more icons. … Iconographers historically prayed or fasted before and during the creation of an icon”.

According to the exhibition’s introductory text, Prayer to, and veneration of, icons “was understood to be an encounter with God, His saints, and angels”. Cummings added that Orthodox Christians consider icons as conduits for prayers or “windows into heaven” and they “aren’t created to be artwork”. She said that many of the icons on view are centuries old, thus, predating the Bolshevik Revolution of the early 20th century.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said, “Icons have been synonymous with Christian prayer and practice for centuries. One of the great traditions of Eastern Christianity, icons are less-well-known here, and we’re pleased that this exhibit will enable residents of the Northeast to grow in their understanding of the history and religious significance of these windows into heaven”. According to the museum, “Traditionally, icons were painted in egg tempera on wood and often accented with gold-leaf or covered with ornately-gilt metal covers called rizas. Rich in symbolism, they’re still used extensively in Orthodox churches and monasteries, and many Russian homes have icons hanging on the wall in a ‘Beautiful (or prayer) Corner’. Today, Russian Orthodox icons are renowned throughout the world”. Cummings said that the exhibition has four distinct sections, each devoted to specific icons:

IF YOU GO

Knights of Columbus Museum, 1 State St, New Haven CT. Open daily from 10.00 to 17.00, admission and parking are free. Call (203) 865 0400 or visit kofcmuseum.org.

2 May 2013

Phyllis A S Boros

Connecticut Post

http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Russian-icons-at-Knights-of-Columbus-Museum-4463575.php#ixzz2S8ppOurm

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Bulgarian Orthodox Church Celebrates Centennial of St Aleksandr Nevksy Cathedral in Sofia and the Birthday of Patriarch Maksim

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Bulgarian Orthodox believers assembled Sunday morning at the St Aleksandr Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia for a special Divine Liturgy commemorating the centenary of the cathedral’s construction. This marks the beginning of a three-day festival by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, celebrating not only the centenary, but also the 130th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the cathedral, and the 98th birthday of Patriarch Maksim Minkov.

Born 29 October 1914, Maksim was enthroned as head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in 1971; he’s the eldest head of an autocephalous Orthodox Church in history. Patriarch Maksim’s health has been unstable of late, he’s currently in hospital due to dizziness and instability; believers will pray for him Sunday and Monday.

The construction of St Aleksandr Nevsky Cathedral began in 1882; it’s one of Sofia’s most significant landmarks and the Bulgarian Patriarch’s Cathedral. It wasn’t complete until 1912; its formal dedication didn’t occur until 1924. Late Saturday, a copy of the miraculous Dostoino Yest (It Is Truly Meet) icon of the Mother of God from Mount Athos arrived at the cathedral for the festivities.

28 October 2012

Novinite.com

Sofia News Agency

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=144549

 

Friday, 8 June 2012

8 June 2012. Sergei Yolkin’s World. A Memorial “Not Made by Hands”

A Memorial “Not Made by Hands”

Sergei Yolkin

2012

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Again, Mr Yolkin uses a play on words using concepts familiar to every Russian. He uses the word нерукотворный in the original Russian title. The “Not Made by Hands” (Спас Нерукотворный) is one of the more familiar Russian Orthodox icons of Christ, and everyone’s familiar with it (whether Orthodox or not). This implies that Pushkin’s importance to the Russian language is similar to the importance that Jesus Christ has for Christianity. I quite agree. Before Pushkin there was a formless void… afterwards, we had a vehicle fit for the subtlest expression (it’s no coincidence that the great Russian novels and poetry followed soon upon his pioneering efforts). This is one of Sergei’s best “wordplays”.

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In 2011, President Medvedev signed a decree on the annual celebration of Russian Language Day. This date wasn’t chosen at random… it’s the birthday of the creator of Russian literary language , the celebrated poet Aleksandr Pushkin. His language usage became the classical standard of the Russian literary canon, which is part of the cultural and spiritual heritage of our common world civilisation.

6 June 2012

Sergei Yolkin

RIA-Novosti

http://ria.ru/caricature/20120606/666730368.html

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Putin Attends Service at Novodevichy Convent at Time of Protest

A strong patriarch, Kirill Gundyaev (1946- ), and a strong “tsar”, President Vladimir Putin (1952- ), share the stage at the Novodevichy Convent in Moscow at the return of the Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God “of Iveron”. Rarely does such a combination exist… a strong patriarch with a strong “monarch”. Holy Rus and Holy Orthodoxy are on the cusp of great things…

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On Sunday, as tens of thousands of people gathered to protest against his rule at a rally in downtown Moscow, President-elect Vladimir Putin took part in a ceremony to hand over an ancient icon to the Church. Putin, who will be sworn in as Russian president on Monday, handed over an ancient copy of the Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God “of Iveron” that was previously kept at the State Historical Museum to the Novodevichy Convent in central Moscow. The icon came to Russia from Mount Athos in Greece in 1648. Putin said, “Let it [the icon] serve and help the people”, in praising the role of the Orthodox Church in Russian society and culture. After the ceremony, which Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias also attended, Putin visited the church of St Vladimir, his patron saint.

6 May 2012

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/art_living/20120506/173273135.html

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