The material world is created by God and is an expression of His wisdom and love for us. This is why liturgical art is so important in Orthodox Churches. In our services God comes to us through all five senses: we smell His intimacy in the incense; we taste Him in Communion; we hear the hymns and readings; we kiss icons by way of honouring the holy persons depicted; we behold Him, His saints and angels in the icons and frescoes. Icons are prayer and worship in paint rather than word.
In the Shrewsbury parish we are blessed to have a number of professional liturgical artists: Silouan Hartley, maker of church furniture; Nathalie Liege, stained glass maker; Aidan Hart, icon and fresco painter and mosaicist. Sister Theovouli, a member of our community continues her iconography in the Monastery of Chrysopigi in Crete.
We have ongoing instruction for those wishing to learn to chant at the analogion. Our training takes place on a Monday evenings. There are two parts to the training. Firstly, ’empirical’ training where the students learn to understand the eight modes, model melodies (automela), the way the services are structured and some basic understanding of notation. Secondly, ‘scientific’ training where those students wanting to deepen their understanding learn to read the system of Byzantine Chant notation.
Students of the classes can access course material here.
Much of the hymnography for our local saints is also currently being composed by hymnographer Fr David Somalis. See the seperate hymnography project page for more details.
Aidan Hart has been a professional icon painter and liturgical artist for over thirty-five years, with works in over thirty countries of the world. His mission in life is to create liturgical art that draws people closer to Christ. He uses traditional methods and materials, making icons, frescoes, mosaics and carvings in stone and wood. He has had two books published on the techniques and the theology of icons. He founded and teaches a three- year part-time course in icon painting for The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts. www.aidanharticons.com
Silouan Hartley is a cabinetmaker trained in the old ways, with attention to detail and pride in his craft, while at the same time using the best of modern machinery. His specializes in church furnishing, including icon panels, cases and screens. His works can be found in a number of cathedrals, including the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in London and Lichfield, and in a number of countries, include Spain and Italy. www.dylanhartley.com