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Dear reader,

It's hard to believe that the studio is celebrating its first anniversary! Since opening its doors in a professional capacity last year, so much has happened ... five new icons have been painted and are now available as reproductions and cards. The Icons at Home series has begun; workshops have happened in Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto and Regina; and many amazing conversations about the need for genuine icons that come from North America have happened in person and in interviews.

While the mission of the studio remains to witness Jesus Christ through a Western style of Orthodox iconography, the year ahead looks to have its challenges. In the long-term, there are two needs. First, a greater variety of icons needs to be developed for the studio's catalogue, including some traditional festival works (such as an icon of the Nativity). Second, the creation of an iconostasis in the studio's style needs to be complete in order to demonstrate its work in the context of the liturgical life of the Church. My hope was that such projects would have been possible in the year to come. But, as it stands right now, my work in the studio will need to scale back in October, as there simply isn't enough income at present to continue.

The question ahead is whether enough people believe that the work of the studio needs to go on. A friend of the studio has decided to answer by way of a fund-raising effort. On the Friends of Conestoga Icons website, you'll find detailed videos explaining the studio's mission, its work, and what you can do to help. If you're interested in learning more, please visit the site: www.friendsofconestogaicons.org. So far, the response has been amazing—with over $6,000 already raised!

Thank you to everyone who has been part of making the first year happen and to those who are supportive of seeing the work continue for a second year. I deeply appreciate all of your encouragement, support, and prayers. —Symeon

The Conestoga Iconographic Studio
"A Vision of Heaven from the Village of Conestoga"

UPDATES

Icon of Christ the Pantocrator

A GOSPEL TEXT FOR NEW CHRIST THE ALMIGHTY ICON

The words written within an icon give voice to the saint through what they hold in their hands. Each saint holds a scroll depicting something they have written—coming from either the Old Testament, an Epistle, or one of the saint’s writings. But, in an icon of Christ the Almighty (in Greek, Παντοκράτωρ, or Pantocrator), we find an exception. In traditional Orthodox iconography, Christ holds a Gospel book containing words spoken by, or even about, Him.

There are two different texts that are most often used ...


To read the full article about this new icons from the studio, click here: www.conestogaicons.com/gospel-text-for-christ-the-almighty

EVERYDAY ORTHODOX INTERVIEW: PART 2

It was wonderful to talk with Elissa Bjeletich again on Ancient Faith Radio. We talked about how icons are made here in the studio, the blessing of icons, and the Icons at Home series. As always, Elissa was engaging and perceptive in her questions. If you didn't hear the program live, you can still listen to it as a podcast on the Ancient Faith Website.
Everyday Orthodox

REFLECTIONS FROM THE TORONTO WORKSHOP

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"What I enjoyed most was working with the natural pigments. Transforming the natural elements of minerals, earth, and plants into the unique colours and hues, gave an added depth to the spirituality of creating the icon." —Sr. Kathryn, from the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine.

"I was impressed by Symeon’s ability to rescue my icon, salvage it, really, on three occasions." —Sr Helen Claire, from the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine.

"I found the workshop a moving experience and am thankful to Symeon for his patience and encouragement. My Icon retains an intimacy because I painted it with all its imperfections. It is now a focal point for my prayer." —Sr. Sarah Jean, from the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine.

REFLECTIONS FROM THE REGINA WORKSHOP

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"This last week St. Mary hosted an icon painting workshop with iconographer Symeon van Donkelaar of the Conestoga Icon Studio in Conestoga, Ontario. Participants in the workshop included representatives of the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and Anglican Communions. It was a most intense, blessed, holy, prayerful, purifying, humbling, and illuminating time, which involved us in a deep and extended physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual struggle. It was a work that was undertaken with much fear and trembling, but conducted under the guidance and loving, watchful eye of a master." —Fr. Claude, Rector of St. Mary the Virgin's Anglican Church.

STUDIO ANNIVERSARY SALE

DIPTYCH OF CHRIST AND MARY REPRODUCTIONS

Until August 15th, a set that includes an icon of Christ the Pantocrator and Mary the Guide are being offered at a special rate in celebration of the studio’s first year.

Reproductions are created on handmade wooden panels and braced in the traditional way measuring 8″x10″ (roughly 20cm by 25cm). Each is individually oil-gilded by hand with 23kt gold. Made using the most advanced printing methods and best traditional materials, they are extremely durable. Icon reproductions are an affordable option that bless a home or small church and also support the ongoing work of the studio.
Diptych of Christ and Mary Reproductions

$600.00 $400.00 USD

Find out more

ICONS AT HOME SERIES

SECOND ICON OF THE SERIES FINISHED

With the icon of Christ the Pantocrator completed, work has already begun on the icons of the series—Righteous Noah for a home's workshop. Painting an icon of the man who God used to save humanity through his woodworking is pretty wonderful. I know the icon's patron is looking forward to having the original in his woodworking shop, and I'm looking forward to having a reproduction of it in mine. To find out more about this series, click here: www.conestogaicons.com/icons-at-home
Icons At Home

A PEEK INTO THE 2019 WORKSHOPS

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Teaching at the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine in Toronto.
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Coming together to share the sunlight as we worked at St. John's.
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Being blessed by painting with the unique hand that God gave us at St. John's.
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Presenting at St. Mary the Virgin's church in Regina.
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Learning to carefully see the icon by drawing our cartoon at St. Mary's.
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Seeing our icons within a golden light in gilding them at St. Mary's.
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