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College Hosts Weeklong Iconography Workshop

College Hosts Weeklong Iconography Workshop

Posted: August 3, 2018

Last week, as Thomas Aquinas College’s High School Summer Program wound its way to an end, elsewhere on campus another group of students gathered for an altogether different sort of instruction. Meeting in two classrooms in St. Albertus Magnus Science Hall, some 11 adults from across the United States took part in a six-day class in Byzantine icon-writing, offered by the New York-based Prosopon School of Iconology.

  • Iconography Class 2018
    Slideshow: Iconography class
  • Iconography Class 2018
    Slideshow: Iconography class
  • Iconography Class 2018
    Slideshow: Iconography class
  • Iconography Class 2018
    Slideshow: Iconography class
  • Iconography Class 2018
    Slideshow: Iconography class
  • Iconography Class 2018
    Slideshow: Iconography class
  • Iconography Class 2018
    Slideshow: Iconography class
  • Iconography Class 2018
    Slideshow: Iconography class
  • Iconography Class 2018
    Slideshow: Iconography class
  • Iconography Class 2018
    Slideshow: Iconography class
  • Iconography Class 2018
    Slideshow: Iconography class
  • Iconography Class 2018
    Slideshow: Iconography class

Leading the class was master iconographer Vladislav Andrejev, founder of the Prosopon School, who has taught icon writing for more than 30 years. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Mr. Andrejev and his wife, Olga, emigrated to the United States in 1980. They now travel throughout North America and Europe — and sometimes beyond — to instruct novices and experts alike in a 15th century technique that they describe as “a discipline of the hand, mind, and heart.” Their workshops include a minimum of 36 hours of active instruction and practice, but often run much longer, with students working into the night to complete assignments.

“We call icon-writing a liturgical process because it is step by step,” says Mrs. Andrejev, principal coordinator of the Prosopon School. “Students are introduced to the creation of the image of God, but this creation is a reflection of an image inside of us, because man was created according to God’s image and likeness.”

Thomas Aquinas College proved to be an ideal setting for the school’s workshops. (“A beautiful place to stay!” says Mrs. Andrejev.) Throughout the week the instructors and their students lived in one of the campus residence halls, took meals in St. Joseph Commons, and attended Mass in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel. (“You call it chapel; it looks like cathedral!”) The quiet, pastoral beauty of the campus created a properly meditative environment for their classes, and they found the students’ youth and vitality inspiring.

“It was so nice to see young people,” says Mrs. Andrejev. “We have known a little bit about the method that you have here in this school; this is a very natural, classical method, which is very good for kids. And I think we are lucky in our society that this method exists.” The work of the College, the Andrejevs observed, is compatible with their own work, as both are ordered toward knowing and loving the Triune God.

“It is interesting to see what kind of students come to our classes,” says Mr. Andrejev. “Many types of religion — Episcopalian, Catholic, Lutheran, and sometimes no faith.” Through the workshops, which cover not only technique, but also theory and theology, nonbelieving students often find their way to faith. “It completely changes their opinion,” he adds. “We have had a great number of students who have converted to Christianity,” says Mrs. Andrejev. “Most of our students would confirm: This process draws them closer to God.”

Patrick Nazeck (’19) -- quote 1

“No one here tells us what to think. We read the great books, look into them deeply, and then discuss them actively in class, which has forced me to take responsibility for my own education.”

– Patrick Nazeck (’19)

Ridgecrest, California

“This is truly a Catholic center of learning because it reverberates with the ecclesial life of faith, a faith which unfolds the richness of reason and is given fervent expression liturgically, sacramentally, and through prayer, acts of charity, and a passion for justice.”

– The Most Rev. J. Michael Miller

Archbishop of Vancouver

Former Secretary, Congregation for Catholic Education

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