The practice of ikonography is not a dead discipline, but one that is currently still happening all over the world, and not only within the Church where it originated. I have had the pleasure to come into contact with Marcel van Baaren, a Dutch ikonographer, a man of many talents, who lives in Utrecht province, the Netherlands. Working with his colleague, Deacon Cornelis Visser of Nicolai Church in Utrecht, a wonderful project of ikonography is in progress.
If I wanted to give visitors to this blog and entrée into the world of ikons, it would be to direct them to the The Passions Project website. There they can see how it is that ikons come into being, at the hands of followers of Jesus, called to this ancient ministry of the Word.
Ancient, because it has been practiced for nearly 2000 years, starting in the first generation of Christians who painted in the Hellenistic style, using the encaustic method; ministry of the Word, because since the beginning it was practiced to faithfully render the truths of scripture into visual form for the illiterate.
Today, though society is literate, modern technology has produced a new kind of icon that attracts man's attention away from God, instead of toward Him. It is men like Marcel and Cornelis who continue, nonetheless, to follow their hearts in the pursuit of truth, and so true ikonography lives on, even in the Western world.
Two Orthodox sayings come to mind.
Beauty will save the world (Dostoyevsky), and…
If you have a heart, you can be saved (Abba Pambo).
If you missed the link to the Passions Project website above, click here.