Category Archives: art

Holy Week revealed in a symphony of images.

Four years ago I shared this rich iconographic tour that Jonathan Pageau gives us of “The Icons of Holy Week,” posted on the website of the Orthodox Arts Journal. World events since then made me forget everything I read and saw here, so I am glad to have come across this post again in time to have my understanding broadened in time for this last leg of our journey to Pascha.

I encourage you to click on the link if only briefly, just so you can see Pageau’s exquisite stone carving of the Crucifixion at the top of the page. But of course his actual tour (of about 30 minutes) begins with Palm Sunday, and he continues through the week bringing to light mysteries of Christ’s passion as depicted and revealed in the several featured icons, leading up to and including His glorious Resurrection.

Jonathan introduces the topic with brief comments about the Notre Dame fire that was probably still burning as he spoke, and about the state of the arts and Christianity in the West. He goes on to show us the interrelatedness of the images specific to the season and how they sort of “talk to each other” as they reveal the deep theology and meaning of these holy days.

“Understanding the Icons of Holy Week”

The video is posted on the website of the Orthodox Arts Journal, but if you like to hear Jonathan talk about the arts, philosophy and theology, he has a YouTube channel, The Symbolic World. Some people lose track of time playing games on their computer, but my personal temptation is to watch Jonathan’s videos late into the night.

Whenever it comes to you, I wish you all a most blessed and salvific Easter!


Leslie George Dunlop

Throughout 2022 I collected poems in a folder named “For Grandchildren.” They were of the sort I thought Pippin’s or Soldier’s children might enjoy, and my plan was to either send them one by one in letters, or take a bunch with me to read in person with them.

I selected a few from that collection to take in a sheaf to Colorado at Christmas, and the boys were interested to see what I’d brought, and to listen to and with me. After we read my bunch, they brought me two of their favorite books of poetry to read from, one of which was A.A. Milne. Here is one of my offerings that we read, which I really appreciate this week when in my area we are experiencing the Atmospheric River. I am thankful for it, I assure you, but I can relate to feeling “just not the same” with this rainy brain.


I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.

I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can’t do a handstand–
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said–
I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.

-Shel Silverstein

Okutama in the Rain by Kawase Hasui

A signpost for free travelers.

The cross, though it has at its head a collision and a contradiction, can extend its four arms for ever without altering its shape.  Because it has a paradox in its center it can grow without changing.  The circle returns upon itself and is bound.  The cross opens its arms to the four winds; it is a signpost for free travelers.

—G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy (1908)

(I took this picture at the Afghan Church in Mumbai, India.)

Visions of holiness in the garden.

“Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” -Psalm 96:9

Back when my new garden was in its immaturity, and gave the impression of rolling hills of orangey mulch, with lonely plant starts like trees on the prairie, I knew that I wanted an icon there, to honor the presence of Christ and his saints. I invited artistic Christian guests to sit over dinner in the garden and discuss the eventual placement of the stand for the icon that I didn’t own yet; I didn’t know at that point whose iconic image I wanted.

Years went by after I had decided on the spot, and a thousand decisions about other things crowded out any research I might do on this question, other than browsing pictures of such displays online, by which I developed a vague idea of what sort of frame and post I wanted. And I knew the icon must be of a material that wouldn’t be damaged by the weather.

Then one day, I think it was in 2019, I happened to see on Facebook this stone icon of the mother of Christ, carved by Jonathan Pageau, and it was available. I hadn’t been looking, and it wasn’t up very long; now I wonder if God didn’t arrange the whole thing, knowing that I would never finish my project if He didn’t put her right in front of me. Later I thought how natural it is that she would be the subject of sacramental art in my garden, she who was certainly in that historic garden 2,000 years ago — the place where her Son revealed Himself to have conquered death, and where women first discovered the empty tomb.

Eventually I asked my dear woodworking friend Aaron if he would build the stand, in his spare time – ha! What diligent husband and father of four has spare time? But he really wanted to do it, and he and I conferred over the last few months about the design and what wood he would use. The pandemic and resulting quarantine recently gave him the extra time he needed.

It was nearly on the eve of Myrrhbearers’ Sunday that he let me know he was ready, and he came with his older son to install it. Their appreciative sharing of my natural paradise for an hour was added joy for all of us. O glorious day! And now, though the beautiful plants will bloom and fade, come and go with the seasons and years, this reminder of permanent and heavenly realities is finally here, and I feel that my garden is complete.

“Through icons the Orthodox Christian receives a vision
of the spiritual world.”
-Timothy Ware