Christian iconography expresses in images the same Gospel message that Scripture communicates by words. Image and word illuminate each other.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 1160
This is why we say we write an icon, we do not paint it, we are writing the gospel in colour and form. Icons are seen as “Windows to Heaven”.
- The word icon simply means image, Icons are soul windows, entrances into the presence of the Holy, or windows to heaven, a window out of the obvious realities of everyday life into the realm of God.
- Icons must be written in meditation and prayer, following the traditions of iconographers for over 2,000 years. We also have a lighted candle and incence burning while we write the icon.
- There are no egos in iconographers writing icons together, each will help and encourage in any way possible to make a beautiful icon.
- Every paint-stroke has a meaning hallowed by centuries of prayer. Icons are religious images that hover between two worlds, rendering the invisible visible.
- Icons serve as invitations to keep eyes open while one prays. It is prayer to just look attentively at an icon and let God speak. The profound beauty of an icon is gentle, It does not force its way, it asks for time spent before it in stillness…..gazing. More importantly it invites the one praying to be gazed upon by it. One is invited to enter into the icon and come closer to the Holy One portrayed. Icons are a reminder of God’s unconditional love.
- The icon has as its purpose to transport us into the realm of spiritual experience, to go beyond our material world, to show us the greatness and perfection of the divine reality that is invisible to us. The Holy spirit speaks to us through the use of images, images that are complementing the written words of the Scripture.
- The faces of those depicted in an icon are always devoid of their feelings, suggestive only of virtues such as: purity, patience, forgiveness, compassion and love.
- Icons are also silent. The mouths of the characters depicted are never open; there are no symbols that can indicate sound. There is perfect silence in the icon and this stillness and silence creates, an atmosphere of prayer and contemplation.
- Icons are not three-dimensional. Perspective in the icon does not exist. The attempt is made to suggest depth, but the frontal plane is never abandoned, because the icon is not a representation of our conscious world, but an attempt to suggest the beauty of the Kingdom of God.