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The new and restoration works of art of Ekaterina Iljinskaya and Vjacheslav Volkov.

Contents.

  1. Prophet Ilya - our patron.
  2. The sacred image of Our Lady Vladimirskaya.
  3. Restoration.
  4. Icon in the house.
  5. Calm my Grieves.
  6. Christening.
  7. Wedding icons.
  8. Sophia the great wisdom of the Lord.
  9. Icons in the name of patrons.
  10. Family icons.

1. PROPHET ILYA - OUR PATRON.

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here is a church of Prophet Ilya on the street of Ilyinka in Moscow near Red Square. Ekaterina Iljinskaya is the artist who painted the icon of prophet Ilya, a temple-sacred image for this church. By the way this church, being founded in XVI century, is one of the eldest churches at Kitai-Gorod and it has been restored many times. This church is working now though it's still under restoration and the icon of prophet Ilya is the only one in the temple.

The prophets of unmasked the erred people and conveyed the word of The Lord. Prophet Ilya was the most threatening among all. Even his birth was unusual: "... when Mother was giving birth to him, Father Savakh (the father of the future son) saw men giving fire and putting flames onto his son's mouth" (Life of Saints XVIII century).

The father terrified by this vision went to Jerusalem and told the priests about this. So one of them, a far-sighted man, said: Don't be afraid of the vision concerning your son, but you should know, that this child will be the source of good of the Lord; his word will be like fire- powerful and influential; he will be of great jealousy and love for God and he will judge by arms and fire.

Prophet had an indivisible soul with God. His prayer resuscitated a young man- a son of a widow. So that was the power of his prayer.

The left side of the icon portrays the argument with king Akhav. According to the proposal of prophet Ilya 40 priests of king Akhav made altar, put fire-wood on it and having slain a calf began to pray to their God Vaal asking him to set their oblation on fire. The priests jumped around the altar half a day crying out: "Listen to us, Vaal, listen to us!" Prophet Ilya mocked at them: "Call louder, your Lord is busy now carousing or taking a nap- call louder to wake him up". Before the evening came Ilya said: "Shut up and give it up, it is high time for my oblation". He made a new altar of 12 stones, put fire-wood and a calf on it, dig a ditch around and ordered the people to take buckets and water the oblation and fire-wood; the people did it. The water filled the ditch and prophet Ilya peering into the sky called out to God: "You are the soul God of Israel and I'm you're your slave and I made this sacrifice for you!" And God threw down the fire and the fire dastructed all, and fire-wood and stones and ashes and even water, which had been in the ditch.

In the central part of the icon we can see prophet Ilya in a desert. Here he is calm and benevolent because he left people and speaks to God. The raven, sent by God, feeds him.

Prophets Ilya got tired crossed the desert. He sat under the juniper tree and fell asleep. An angel came to him in the dream and said: "Get up, eat and drink, a long way lies before you." The prophet woke up and found a warm bread and a jug with water.

As the time, that God determined to take prophet Ilya to him in the flesh approached, Ilya along with his disciple Elisey left the town of Galgal to Vefil. There Ilya wanted to leave Elisey but he said: "God is alive and your soul is alive! I won't leave you". And prophet Ilya and prophet Elisey went from Vefil to Ierikhon. When both of them came to Iordan river, Ilya took off his rain coat, rolled it up and hit the water. The river moved aside and they crossed the Ioardan over the bottom. The rain coat is a symbol of the prophesy power , granted to Ilya by God. And Ilya gave the rain coat to Elisey.

On their way a chariot and fiery horses appeared and separated them. Ilya in a fiery whirlwind was taken to heaven.

Saint Goddish Prophet Ilya taken in the flesh to heaven by a fiery chariot, is alive, saved by God in paradise villages. Three saint disciples saw him their at the time of Transfiguration of God at Favor (L.9.30) and again he was seen by ordinary mortals before the second descent of God on the Earth.

Saint Goddish Prophet Ilya, pray God for us!

2. THE SACRED IMAGE OF OUR LADY VLADIMIRSKAYA.

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he chief monk of the church of saint disciples Peter and Paul (Novaya Basmannaya street), Father Stephan asked us to paint the sacred image of Or Lady Vladimirskaya for Vladimirsky church corner. This temple come through the Soviet times of faith and regious rejection and for a long time it was used as a plant. Old icons were not saved. But by miracle the parishioners managed to keep the setting of the sacred image of Our Lady Vladimirskaya and the church corner was named and blessed in its favour. Father Stephan asked to make the new icon for this setting but the icon should have resembled the most famous and the most worshiped sacred image, which according to old rumours and legends had been painted by disciple Luka.

As they say, disciple Luka created the sacred image on the table board on which when the Lord was young dined Jesus, Holy Our Lady and Josif ... When Maria saw the sacred image she said: "Since now let all my descendant humour me" and added: "The grace of my descendant and my grace will be with this icon".

In the 17th century the sacred image was sent to Kiev for Jury Dolgorukiy, The son of Vladimir Monomakh, by the patriarch of Konstantinopol Luka Khrisoverkh. It was settled at the princelly village of Vishgorod, in the female monastery. Once the priests of the monastery, entering the temple, saw that the icon was hanging in the middle of the temple, in the air. They placed it back but the icon moved to the air again.

Prince Andrei, the heir of Juri, was a great admirer of Our Lady and decided that her will was to take icon to another place. And at night, secretly without asking his father, Andrei left old Vishgorod with the icon which was priceless for him. The citizens of Vladimir at the Klazma river met the icon with happiness. Then Andrei moved to Rostov town but the horses carrying the icon stopped having ridden about 6 miles away from Vladimir and refused to go further. Urging them on was of no help. New horses were harnessed but they also refused to go further. During a passionate prayer Andrei found out that the will of Our Lady was to keep the icon in Vladimir. Andrei urgently built a cathedral in Vladimir and honourably installed the icon in it.

The icon remained at the great fire on 13th of April 1185 when the whole Vladimirskiy Cathedral was burnt down by flames. After 40 years, when on the 7th of February 1237 khan Batiy destroyed Vladimir, the icon remained whole again. The famous victory of Dmitriy Donskoy over khan Mamai on the 8th of September 1380 is said to be inspired by this icon. And after 15 years the icon of Our Lady Vladimirskaya which fame had been developing during two and a half centuries of its presence in Vladimir saved Moscow being removed there as the great symbol of the capital of Russia.

In 1935 khan Tamerlan "the whip on nations" invaded Russia and entered with his hordes the Rjazan region. He took the town of Eletz with its prince and, slaughtering many people, approached the Don river.

The Great Prince Vasylyi Dmitrievich went with an army to stop him at the Oka river not far from Kolomna town. But mostly he counted on heavens intercession. Our Lady did not fail the praying people and with her own power without army, drove Tamerlan away. That very hour when the icon was taken to Moscow Tamerlan was napping in his tent. Suddenly he saw a strange dream: a high hill and priests descending from the top of it with golden batons. And above them Our Lady was standing magnificiently and greatly in rays. Numerous Angels surrounded Our Lady carrying fiery swords. Raising their swords the angels rushed at Tamerlan.

Tamerlan woke up in horror and called all his wizards and fortune-tellers to interpret the dream. He was told that it was Our Lady; the patron of Russians, the mother of Christian's God and her power couldn't be conquered.

Tamerlan ordered his armies to retreat. Both Russians and Tatars were surprised by this event. A contemporary writer, describing it, added: "Tamerlan retreated pursued by the power of Our Lady".

Our Lady defended Moscow and Russia through its sacred image many times. "The great city of Moscow is looking beautiful at dawn like in the halo of the sacred image of Our Lady".

3. RESTORATION

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eople often turn to us asking to restore an old icon. This is a very long and complicated process. Some icon-painters think that restores are unfortunate artists who did not meet success. They think so because during restoration a restorer shouldn't make something new realising his ideas but carefully reproduce the lacking places of the masterpiece. But actually to reproduce these lacking fragments professionally one needs to copy the initial artist's manner perfectly. And for this one must possess the same skills and mastership as the painter of an ancient icon. We also should take into account that different icons painted in different times under different traditions and manners of painting are submitted for restoration. A restorer during work imitates the painting techniques of different artists. Ekaterina Iljinskaya says that she learned the icon painting from a lot of masters of icon-painting. When she restores the ancient works of art she doesn't touch the undamaged fragments with the new colours and the icons don't loose their ancience and originality. The fragment restored by Ekaterina fit completely the main icon so the restoration work can be seen only due to photos made before it. We included into the restoration technology process the obligatory photographing of the works of art. We also make special copy graphics of the icon on the very thin tracing paper. These graphics and photos are the main property of our work-shop. Basing on them we learn the iconography and paint new icons. More than that we make enlarged photos of some fragments of icons and these are the education materials for our apprentices. Working with ancient works of art we know what particular colours were used traditionally by icon painters. So in this way we differ from other artists who base in their works on the bright catalogues and albums. Even a very good polygraphy can't reproduce the real colours of an original icon. Painting our works of art we use egg emulsion with adding of natural pigments, i.e. ochres (clays: yellow, red, greenish) and pounded precious stones (malachite, lasurite etc.) The background of an icon we cover with gold leaf and make stamping on it. The stamping makes gold more iridescent; it looks brisk, volumetrical. Following ancient technology we cover a new icon with flax drying oil. The drying oil penetrates into all colour's layers and after some time it becomes the indivisible structure with a colourful layer protecting the icon. We witness that the icons of 11-15th centuries remained in better conditions than paintings made on canvas with oil colours. Icon bears the Word of the Lord, True and Eternal. That's why we use the specific material for icons which can't be destroyed by time. We use well-dried lime boards with oaken dowels on which we gum "pavoloka"- unbleached linen and then make "levkas"- chalk coating. That is an ancient reliable technique. The same technology was used by Pheophan Grek and Andrei Rublev.

It is wonderful that this technology is alive nowadays.

4. ICON IN THE HOUSE.

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t is said to be a cat to enter a new house first as a rule. This is an old russian custom. But during the atheist years we have forgotten that an icon must be the first thing to be carried into a house. Icon, being a sacred defender of a family, is usually granted by parents to their children. A priest is invited to the house and he exercises the rite of concentration. The crosses are to be painted on walls for each side of the world. The cross is the symbol of Christ's victory over sins and death. With lighted candles and praying the priest and all members of the family go around the house. The priest then lights a frankincense and censes everywhere. The house of a christian is a little church. It is filled with a wonderful aroma and it seems that angels sing at heaven when the human souls call and love God. At a bed side of each member of the family should be placed an icon with a sacred image of the saint according to the name sleeping there. Also the sacred image of the Lord or Our Lady can be hung above the bed head- these icons guard us when we are sleeping. At the east corner of the room each believer wants to have a small iconostasis like we see in the church. The icons are placed on special shelves decorated with carving and inlay covered by towels with embroidery and flowers.

The central sacred image "God Omnipotent" is Jesus Christ who brought us the Annunciation. He is the main stronghold of the world, the embodimented word. He knows all we do. To the right from this image we usually place the icon of Our Lady, the patron of people before God. Being a simple mortal she suffered a lot as a woman. Believing in God and being not depraved virgin she was taken to heaven. That is why she is our patron and consolator.

To the left from the sacred image of God is Ioann Predtecha, the last among prophets who brought the news about Jesus Christ and the first christian martyr. Family icons and other sacred images of Our Lady and Saints can be placed on the shelf.

For example Russians admire St. Nickolai. As a symbol of the prayer and love of God people light candles and icon-lamp placing them near the icons.

5. CALM MY GRIEVES.

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e know nothing about the man who turned to us with the order to make the sacred image of Our Lady "Calm my Grieves". He said that he wanted to have an icon at home which can be the patron and protector of his family. But he also wanted to get a unique icon which nobody had, painted especially according to his order; the icon which he would leave to his children. It would be the patron of his family under God and unite all generations.

The client actually didn't mind what particular sacred image of Our Lady he wanted to order. To tell the truth there are more than 600 different types of icons of Our Lady. Each sacred image has its own history.

We showed all our collection of the icons of Our Lady to the customer. And the man chose the sacred image of "Calm my Grieves". He made a very good choice. This is a very beautiful image. On this icon we can notice hair under the shawl of Our Lady. It is a very rare thing because on the orthodox icons the hair of holy wives and Our Lady painted covered by shawls as a symbol of humility and acquiescence before God. Hair is a very personal secret part. That is why the hair on the icon proves that Our Lady is very close to us, sinners. Maria being near us understands like our Mother all human sorrows and always defend us.

This icon is known since the second half of the 17th century. Its wonderful power was revealed in the following way. A lady from a very distinguished family suffered for many year from a very grave enfeeblement a depression of the body. The doctors couldn't help her. The condition of the patient became more and more serious. She helplessly lay in bed unconscious and suddenly she saw a vision of the sacred image of Our Lady and heard a voice: "Order to take you to Moscow, there is in Pupishovo village in the church of St. Nickolai you will find the icon of Our Lady "Calm my Grieves". So the sick woman regained consciousness and asked her relatives to take her to Moscow. Having reached Moscow they found Pupishovo village and carried the woman into the church of St. Nickolai Thaumaturge. She looked through all icons but didn't find that sacred image she had seen in her dream. They told the priest what happened and he ordered to take off all icons of Our Lady from the bell-tower. When the icon "Calm my Grieves"was carried into the church they had hardly distinguish her sacred image, so dusty the icon was. The sick woman being so weak that she couldn't say a word and move legs and arms for a long period of time suddenly cried out: "There it is! She crossed and after the prayer kissed the icon. At the same moment she felt much better, could stand up, was able to go out of the church without help and returned home recovered. This miracle happened on the 25th of January (old calendar style) and that is why this day is celebrated now as the day of the icon "Calm my Grieves".

When we painted this beautiful sacred image of Our Lady we drew the ornament of vine around her head as per the old russian tradition rooted from the last centuries of Christianity. The vine is a symbol of the Earth embodiment of Jesus Christ and remind us about Secret Vespers and Communion of Holy Sacraments. The ornament was painted sky-blue colours which were made of pounded lazurite.

"Oh, Our Lady, take away the burden of my sins and calm my grieves entering my heart!"

6. CHRISTENING CEREMONY.

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he sacrament of christening is granted to us by God. Jesus accepted the christening from Ioann Predtecha and we always make the sign of the cross to leave off our sins and for the inheritance of God's Kingdom.

Before christening ceremony a person must be given a christian name in the honour of one of the Saints of the Orthodox Church. This Saint is to be the patron of the person in Heaven, christened under God. And all the life a person is guarded by the patron saint which is also called the patron Saint.

During the christening ceremony a priest pray to God to take the person to the Holy Church and to God and to banish from the person all devil spirits. The person also in his turn must abdicate from the devil in his heart and promise to serve only to God giving to him all his intentions and thoughts and his life. When a child is to be christened a godfather and a godmother are to be chosen. These persons are the godparents of the child and at the christening ceremony they say out the words of abdication from devil and juncture with God. They also swear to train the child to believe in God and to live according to the christian laws. The priest prays to God to sanctify the water in the font and to make it for the christening child the source of the new sacred life. The the priest puts the child three times in the sacred water saying: The slave of God (the name) is being christened in the name of Father, amen! And Son, amen! And Holy Ghost, amen! White clothes and a cross are put on the child. The white clothes are the symbol of the clear soul after christening and remind that in spiritual life any person is like a newly born infant. The cross is the symbol of believe in Jesus Christ.

7. WEDDING ICONS.

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he sacrament of matrimony is of great importance for Christians. It is exercised in the church at the where Cross and Gospel are placed. The parents of the fiance bless him with the icon of Our Lady and the parents of the bride bless her with the icon of the Saviour. First the betrothal is exercised in the Church and then the marriage ceremony is taken place. A priest blesses the couple three times by the lighted candles and gives these candles to them as a sign of love to each other blessed by God. After prayers to God to grant good and welfare to the young couple the priest blesses them and puts wedding-rings on their hands. The rings should be consecrated beforehand.

The fiance and the bride take the wedding-rings as a sign of security and inviolability of their marriage. Then comes the wedding ceremony when the priest prays God to bless the marriage and to give grace to them. As a sign of their gratitude he puts on the fiance and the bride the crowns which are heavy as a married life (lets remember the crown of the Saviour), and are beautiful as a heaven's gift for those who overcome difficulties.

The priest blesses them together three times saying: "God, by honour and fame wed them!" And leads them around the lectern as a sign of a spiritual happiness and triumph.

The sacrament is beautiful and solemn. The icons which the newly married couple is blessed with are called the wedding icons. These icons should be placed on a special shelf hanging on the east wall of the house where the newly married couple lives. In case of troubles occurred in a family life we can always turn for help to Our Lady and the Saviour due to icons the marriage was blessed with. These icons are the symbols of the unity of the husband and the wife. They protect the marriage. In front of these icons the souls of the husband and the wife are uniting in a prayer for God and their marriage becomes integral and inviolable.

These icons are painted as a wedding pair. Creating the sacred image of the Lord Omnipotent we based on Moscow traditions of the icon-painting and on the works of art of Andrei Rublev. Besides we looked through our archives. The subject is very popular and the painting of the image of God is restricted by the Canon. But if we look more attentively we can distinguish a difference between the icons painted by different artists. The style of an artist can be traced in a spiritual aspiration to God. People differ as they have a diverse spiritual experience and so the icons can't be identical.

On the sacred image of Holy Our Lady we can see the angels holding the items of God's passions as the sufferings of God- a cross, a spear and a club. Any icon of Our Lady can be used for wedding ceremony.

Icons live their own life. Their life can be different. For example the icons of the Lord Omnipotent and Holy Our Lady were painted especially for wedding but they didn't become the wedding pair. The first sacred image is a property of Mr. J.P. Miroshnichenko ("Stolitsa" fund- Moscow government). The second icon is a property of Mr. J.M. Luzhkov- the mayor of Moscow.

8. SOPHIA- THE GREAT WISDOM OF THE LORD.

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eople always wanted to be closer to God. Bisantian emperors and patriarchs (Bisantia was the place of origin of icon painting) asked the artists to portray them praying in front of God underlining by this their reign superiority. These images in church reminded to the praying people that the emperors and patriarchs had been blessed by God himself.

Later in the West a lot of well-to-do christian believers began to portray themselves standing in front Our Lady and Christ.

Russian people were very meek and couldn't dare to portray themselves on the icons. They asked Saint martyrs and confessors of Christianity to pray for them in front of God. In this connection the sacred images of the patron Saints began to appear at the sides of icons. This tradition was spread a lot in Russia because the real believing orthodox family is a small church. Christians always had home icons where the family saints were portrayed without fail.

Ekaterina Iljinskaya and Vjacheslav Volkov painted an icon with the patron family Saints for Mr. J.P. Miroshnichenko (Moscow Government). On the icon sides they painted: Georgiy I Konstantinopol, patriarch, Holy Prophet Queen Elena, St. Nona Nazianskaya and Angel the Keeper. Every person at birth gets from God an Angel the Keeper which is a mediator between God and a person. Angel helps to do good, brings the prayers of a person to God and after the person's death takes the soul to heaven. Angel has wings- the sign of his goddish origin and the quickness of movements.

On the central part of the icon painted by Ekaterina and Vyacheslav we can see the sacred image of Holy Sophia the Great Wisdom of the Lord. The believers here imply the Second Goddish essence, i.e. Son of God.

This corresponds to the first message of prophet Pavel to the citizens of Korinph: "You are from Jesus Christ who became the Wisdom of God through truth, consecration and expiation".

God is painted like a fiery Angel which was created on the basis of the Angel of the Great Light, i.e. the sacred image of Jesus Christ before his human embodiment. The fiery image of the Angel is symbol of his great love to God, his voluntary oblation. The Angel is wearing the dalmatica, the clothes of archangels (chief-angels) and kings. There is an amophor in his hands; that is a wide strip cloth with cross embroidery, usually put on the shoulders of a bishop over his vestments. It symbolises a deluded ewe (a sinner) which is taken on the shoulders by the Saviour. That shows that God takes care over sinners. In his right hand the Angel holds a sceptre pointing that God is the Tzar of all tzars and that he has a divine power. In the left hand the Angel holds a scroll, i.e. the annunciation which he brought to the world.

Holy Sophia is sitting on the Throne of Glory, supported by seven columns, from Solomon parables: "The Wisdom built a house on seven columns". The feet of Holy Sophia are put on the pedestal and she is surrounded with mandorla, a sparkle of a fiery unconquerable Glory.

Above Holy Sophia in a divine sparkle Jesus Christ stands blessing with both hands. And higher than God there is Etimasia that is the prepared throne of the second advent. Six angels are looking with palpitation standing on the knees at the Saviour. The Angels and Jesus Christ are painted in clouds in other words they are invisible. To the right from Sophia there is Our Lady with a child, to the left there is Ioann Predtecha. The icon bears a lot of gold- this is a divine sparkle which can't be reflected by any colour. As the Sun is the metaphor for divine sparkle, so gold is metaphor for sun light.

The paintings of Holy Sophia are going with roots back to the ancient times. It is well known that the sacred image of Jesus Christ as an Angel with wings "Sophia Jesus Christ" remained whole in the catacombs of Alexandria (IV - V centuries). The historians say, the first christian temple in the name of Holy Sophia the Great Wisdom of the Lord was built by emperor Konstantin the Great in 330. But nevertheless the iconography of the sacred image of Sophia is not restricted by canons. Before the creation of this sacred image we looked through a list of different renderings.

When we painted this beautiful sacred image and consecrated it we kept it at our place for several days. It was put on the shelf with all our family icons. And it was a miracle! We saw that this image was like a little altar-screen. Our Lady and Ioann Predtecha are painted standing below Holy Sophia the Great Wisdom of the Lord, i.e. below Jesus himself. Like in Dejesus they are standing below God.

The most familiar saints of Jury Mikhajlovich- the saints of the members of his family are on the sides of the icon. They are standing in front of God, Our Lady and Predtecha and pray for the whole family. This really wonderful image connected all the most precious selected saints and lighted our room by a miraculous pink sparkle.

9. ICONS IN THE NAME OF PATRONS.

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nce a woman turned to us asking to paint an icon of St. Alexander. Her husband Alexander had became a believer and had been christened not long ago. The woman wanted to make him a present. It is known that a holy patron leads a person along the way of Truth helping in hard times protecting from evil in the name of God. And the fragile newly born soul needs this support.

We looked through the christian calendar and found out that there 26 St. Alexanders canonised by the Orthodox Church. Who was the patron of our Alexander? He was christened in winter in February. The nearest day of St. Alexander after the date of christening is the day of St. Alexander Konstantinopolsky (of Konstantinopol), the founder of the cloister of Unremitting (the memory day is on 23rd of February of old calendar style). But how we could paint this sacred image? There are many icons of St. Alexander Nevsky, the icons of Alexander Svirsky can be found also, but there were no images of Alexander Konstantinopolsky in our archives. Then in Miney (in the daily church books of divine service) we found the life story, the biography of St. Alexander.

He got the education in Tzargrad where he entered the military service. But after some time he retired and served only to God. Constantly reading Gospel he fasted and prayed a lot and then entered the cloister of St. Prophet Ilya in Syria. After four years he left Syria and only with Gospel he went to desert. His belief was so strong and his life was so righteous that about 400 different monks joined him. He established 9 monasteries for them. In these monasteries he settled a new custom of Unremitting, i.e. the monks during 24 hours a day in 24 shifts sang psalms. St. Alexander Konstantinopolsky died in 430.

We portrayed St. Alexander with a church in his hands as a founder of monk cloisters and in monk clothes. The fact is that the clothes of Saints differ from our common ordimary clothes. These are metaphor garments which are got as a reward for exploits. Adam having made a sin saw that he was naked. In order to cover himself with the garments of divine Glory he had to make spiritual exploits to purify. That's why we painted St. Alexander in monk clothes as a symbol of a monk life.

A neighbour dropped to my place one day. Hello, Ekaterina- he said, A grandson of my friend from the office was born. Their family doctor said that the 6th of May (23rd of April) is the memory day of St. Georgiy the Victor. So the child was named after him. My friend wants to make a present to his son- to give an icon of St. Georgiy. Can you paint it?

St. Georgiy the Victor is a very honoured saint in Moscow. Moscow coat of arms bears the fragment of icon "The miracle of St. Georgiy the Victor about dragon".

St. Georgiy died excruciatingly for orthodox belief. That is why the Orthodox Church treats him with respect as a great martyr.

In the end of III century in Finikia after the death of St. Georgiy at the town of Berita situated not far from Palestine in Lebanon mountains was a big lake. A terrible poisonous dragon lived somewhere around this lake. It ate people and terrified the local population.

The people didn't know how to get rid of the dragon and being the drab heathens they followed the advice of a local priest and every day sacrificed a person (son or daughter) casting a lot. One day the turn was of the single daughter of the Tzar. Father called for the daughter and crying ordered her to put on the best expensive dress decorated with precious ornaments and with a great sorrow let her go. She was standing mournful expecting the death with tremble on the bank but suddenly St. Georgiy appeared riding a horse with a lance in hands. "Why are you standing here crying?"- he asked the unlucky girl. "Get away from here handsome young man or you'll die with me". That very moment a monster appeared from the water. "In the name of my God"- said St. Georgiy and crossed. Then sitting on a horse he rushed at the dragon and thrust his lance into its mouth sticking it to the ground. The horse meanwhile trampled it. Then St. Georgiy ordered the young girl to bind the monster with the belt and take it to the city. All 25 thousand citizend and tzar were so shocked and surprised that believed in Jesus Christ in once.

In Apocalypse written by St. Ioann Bogoslov St. Georgiy is described as follows: "... a white horse with a rider holding a bow. The rider was given a crown and he went as a victor to defeat" (Revel. 6,2).

When we painted St. Georgiy we placed his figure on the foreground because the victory of St. Georgiy is a great symbol. Revelation considers this victory the victory over evil forces in the name of Christ, our true God. We also should note that the cross is always painted on the end of his lance. There are many pictures of St. Georgiy on the horse. His horse is always white (remember Apocalypse), his long coat is always red as a symbol of his martyr death and his fiery strong love to God.

10. FAMILY ICONS.

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here is a wonderful custom to paint family icons with the sacred images in the name of patrons blessed by God. Sometimes Our Lady is portrayed instead of God. Our Lady covers the saints with veil. Also Guriy, Samon and Aviv- the patrons of family life are usually painted on family icons.

We have the friends since our childhood- Alexander and Ekaterina. We love them and always pray for them. Many years they lived together but the had no children. But at last the son was born. The child was born on the memory day of prince Daniil of Moscow and that's why the child was named Daniil.

It's wonderful that the Alexander, the head of the family, was given a name of the great prince Alexander Nevsky. It is especially interesting regarding the fact that Alexander Nevsky was the father to Daniil Moskovky.

We painted this icon for them with pleasure. It portrays prince Alexander Nevsky, Daniil Moskovsky and Holy martyr Ekaterina .

This icon is the family icon of the writer Alexander Lavrin. It portrays the patrons of his family St. Alexander Kalitsky, Holy martyr Irina Korinphskaya- the patron of his wife and Holy Anastasiya deserted- the patron of his daughter.

The memory day of Holy Anastasia is on 10 of March of old Calendar style. To paint this sacred image we had to search for its description in the icon original. We have this book of S.T. Bolshakov in our work-shop. It was published in the 18th century.

It renders the description of Saints and religious holidays for each day and also the images of Saints can be found there. At first we started to look for the image but found out that there was no such memory day on 10th of March. Then we began to read the description and disclosed that this is the memory day both of the male Anastsiy and female Anastasia which is painted as Eudokia with scroll in hands. The church calendar doesn't note the memory day of male Anastasiy on the 10th of March. We began to read "The Life of Saints":

Holy Anastasia was born in a top noble family of Tzargrad and was married to the first minister of the empire. When she became a widow she lived a descent christian life.

The imperor Justinian took a special care of the young widow. She secretly decided to go to Egypt. She built a cloister not far from Alexandria where she gave herself up to the prayer.

After some time when imperor Justian become a widower he ordered to find Anastasia and invite her to his court. Anastasia learnt about it and being afraid to be tempted she went to a desert and met abba Daniil there. Anastasia told him about everything. Abba had pity on her and gave her man clothes. Then he ordered her to live in a cave under the name of Anastasii a castrated man.

Since that time she never left the cave and never received guests. Only one a week a priest brought some food to Anastasia. He put some bread and water on the floor and left her without saying a word. Anastasia lived 17 years in such conditions. God told her the date of her death and on that very day abba Daniil with his disciple came to her first time for many years. Then abba administered Holy Communition and Anastasia looked to the east, her face lighted like a fire, she crossed herself and said: "God take my spirit into your hands". Immediately after that she departed. The disciple putting on the clothe on Holy Anastasia noted to his surprise that she is a woman. She died in 565 the same year with the emperor.

We read this wonderful life story and painted Holy Anastasia as she was.