Saint Vladimir Orthodox Church in Trenton NJ held two iconography tours on Saturday, 21 September. “Windows Into Heaven” served as an outreach to the greater Trenton community, a fundraiser and social event for the parish. More than 80 people attended the day’s two tours. Each tour began with a procession of children entering the church, venerating the cross in the center and lighting their candles, then singing the Lord’s Prayer.
Father John Diamantis (parish rector) offered a welcome to those attending and overview of the day. “The iconography of this parish was written from 1954-56 by the hand of Mr. Pimen Sofronov, a master iconographer who was also commissioned to paint a byzantine art exhibit for the Vatican,” said Father John.
Father Paul Shafran (pastor emeritus) offered a history of the parish’s iconography and noted that the procession of events leads one’s eyes to the Lord’s altar. One parishioner commented, “I have been attending this church for years and had no idea about the significance of each of these icons. I am truly grateful to have been here today to hear this.”
Information about select icons and a scripturally-based talk were shared by parishioner and tour organizer, Ms. Vera Pschenyczny. “This whole event was inspired by the Holy Spirit, and we must give thanks to God for his graciousness towards us,” commented Vera.
Ms. Lynette Hull, an accomplished local iconographer, demonstrated and explained how to write (paint) an icon and the significance of the elements and 22 steps in that process, as well as the way icons served to bring her into the Orthodox Christian Church. “The art of iconography has so much to do with the cutting off of our will and allowing God’s will to be ours,” said Lynette.
“As an artist, hearing the process of how icons are created was so fascinating to me,” said one guest. “I plan to return tomorrow to share this beautiful church with my family and friends.”
Between each speaker the choir interspersed select hymns and provided 30 minutes of background music for the guests as they toured the church. Following the presentations, guests were encouraged to absorb, photograph, and inquire about the beautiful iconography which adorns the church.
Guests were invited to a reception at the parish hall which had a variety of foods and desserts, as well as a silent auction at which Lynette Hull very generously offered to write the icons of choice for the two highest bids and to donate the proceeds to the parish. All of the guests were invited to stay for Vespers that evening, during which Father John said: “It is truly fitting that we give thanks to God for this grace-filled day in this beautifully adorned parish that has inspired so many to draw closer to Him.”