"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

Thursday 16 December 2010


Friday, December 03, 2010

When writing about Aidan Hart's work last week I noticed the icon below. It represents an interesting postscript to the recent discussion of the portrayal of the Sacred Heart in the iconographic style. Aidan Hart was approached by someone who wished to commission a Sacred Heart image. As an Orthodox Christian he explained that he would be happier to paint an icon of Christ that communicated the themes of mercy and compassion but without making the heart visible. As he put it: 'My solution was to relate it to Christ's appearance to Thomas (hence the doors in the icon and Christ showing his wounded side). The wound summarizes Christ's compassion (sacred heart) for us in suffering and dying for us. The rays of light come from his whole person, although radiating from the direction of his heart.'

This is interesting to me in a number of ways. First it is a beautiful image that does indeed communicate to me a sense of mercy and compassion; second, the story of its origin gives us a sense of how a new iconographic image is created; and third, if there are any artists out there looking to paint a Divine Mercy or Sacred Heart image, this could be something that it could be based upon. From a technical point of view, it is difficult to paint a robe that is all white and avoid creating something that is dull and lifeless. The interplay of different colours is one way in which the artist avoids this, and the scope for this is limited in an all white robe. Aidan has approached this by putting different dark colours on the ground and then painting the white form over it. The ground colours show through faintly and give it variety, life and interest.

I am publishing this post because the icon is very beautiful, because, as the writer implies, it does give a rather better portrayal of the Sacred Heart theme than any picture of the Sacred Heart that I have seen, and because our Bro. Alex has been a pupil of Aidan Hart and I hope will be again.

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