"Portals of Divine" explored in enlightening talk by Father Richard Soo

On Saturday, February 11, 2017 Father Richard Soo, S.J. of the Eastern Catholic Church in Richmond, gave us an enlightening Powerpoint presentation on Eastern Rite Icons. He gave us insights into the differences between the Roman Catholic way of worshipping and the Byzantine or Eastern Catholic way of worshipping.

A lively discussion by Members of ESAG during the Feb 11 meeting

Father Soo emphasized that icons are front and centre in the Eastern tradition and when you first enter a church you do not genuflect to the Blessed Sacrament but you kiss and venerate the icon of Christ and other icons as you would greet the host of a house.

Icons are ‘windows to heaven’ or ‘portals to the Divine’. Icons are large and numerous in the Eastern church and are very much a part of the liturgy. When you enter the church building you feel the presence of the Divine through the icons which may not only be around the altar, but also on the walls and ceiling. The Byzantine church has no sculptures. Only the two dimensional form is permitted.

Father Soo poses with the Epiphany Sacred Arts Guild members after his presentation on Eastern Rite Icons.

Father Soo traced the history of iconoclasm and how it was resolved with the 7th Ecumenical Council and the writing of the theologian St. John of Damascus.

As ‘gospels in colour’ Fr. Soo went on to explain the meaning of several types of icons such as the Holy Trinity, Mother of God, Christ the Life Giver, and some saints. “Saints are saints because they let the light of Christ shine through them and when you venerate (icons of) saints you are venerating the Christ in them.”

Show and Tell of current work by Ana Maria and Steve

“The icon reveals to us a world of beauty and peace.” Fr. Soo spoke of the church as being

a treatment centre for our souls where we take in the beauty of the Lord. “Icons help restore a proper relation with God. In our culture the images we see pull us away from peace and order.” Fr. Soo said that we are in great need of this restoration, of this peace and order.

A lively discussion followed the presentation and we concluded the day with Ana Maria Silva and Steve Knight explaining their latest icons during our ‘show and tell’ session. All together we were 13 and were happy to welcome 3 new members.

Ilona, Frank, Patricia and Steve Enjoying lunch

before the talk by Fr. Soo

Members were reminded to think about preparing special work for the 15th anniversary exhibit in 2018 and remember that our next presentation will be about stained glass art work with John

and Laura Gilroy’s presentation.

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