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A key feature of every Orthodox Christian church is a large, often life-sized, standing Cross on which is depicted the crucified Christ.  Figures of the Virgin Mary and the Apostle John are set to each side.  Venerated by the faithful during the year, such a Cross becomes a significant part of Orthodox worship in the latter part of Holy Week when it is moved to the centre of the church.  By 2012 it had become necessary to replace the Cross that had stood in our church for many years.  Made decades ago, with the simple materials and resources then available to the parish, the artwork had deteriorated over time, and the Cross itself was broken in an accident whilst being moved in Holy Week some years before. Late in 2012 the Parish Council engaged iconographer Dimitri Lihachov to undertake work on a new Cross.  A well-known and widely-respected artist, Dimitri studied traditional techniques of fresco and egg tempera with some of the world’s finest Byzantine iconographers at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York – the centre of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia - and in Jerusalem.  Inspired by the thirteenth-century Crucifix of Pisa, Dimitri’s design for the Cross is a traditional Byzantine depiction of the crucified Christ that incorporates specifically Russian Orthodox elements.  Panels around the main image depict the Virgin Mary, the Apostle John, the taking down of Christ from the Cross, His life-giving Resurrection, and other scenes.  For the preparation of the wooden framework of the Cross, Dimitri engaged joiners Jeffrey Broadfield & Associates.  Working primarily with Russian larch, a master craftsman from this firm produced a light yet sturdy Cross with a join-free surface.  This work was undertaken in February and March of 2013.  The completed Cross was later moved to Dimitri’s studio on Scotland Island in Sydney’s Pittwater.  There, Dimitri used traditional iconographic techniques, employing materials such as gypsum, muslin, shellac, twenty-four carat gold leaf, and pure mineral pigment.  The Cross was completed late in 2013 and blessed by Metropolitan Hilarion at Divine Liturgy on 26 January 2014.

A new Cross

(13 Images)


Upon completion of the Cross in 2014, our parish began to work with Dimitri Lihachov on another iconography project, a large free-standing icon-case to be placed on the right-hand side of the church and so complement the Cross.  Work commenced in early 2015 with the same master craftsman who worked on the Cross constructing the icon-case.  The main icon in the case is an image of the Mother of God referred to as "All Creation Rejoices in Thee" ("О Тебе радуется"), the original of which was the work of the iconographer Dionysius of Moscow (1445-1502 AD). The imagery of the icon is drawn from a hymn of the same name, the work of Saint John Damscene (+749 AD), sung at the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great.  Copies of this icon customarily depict an array of “forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics” and other righteous ones, all of them gathered around “our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary”, these words coming from a prayer of Saint Basil the Great that precedes the hymn.  Smaller images in our icon-case depict the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, the Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, and Saint Nicholas. This project was completed in September 2020 and the icon was delivered to our church in October 2020.

 

The icon includes images of Saint John Damascene, Saint Basil the Great, the prophets Ezekiel and Jeremiah, and an array of other saints.  The saints depicted in our copy of the icon are those with an important link to our parish and to the project. Here is a list of the saints included:

 

Patron saints of our parish, the Mayfield parish, and Archpriest John Lupish

 

Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker

Saint John the Baptist

Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist

 

Patron saints of the main bishops of Australia and New Zealand

 

Saint Theodore of Ostrog

Saint Athanasius of Bretsk

Saint Sava of Serbia

Saint Theodosius of the Kiev Caves

Saint Paul the Simple

Saint Hilarion of the Kiev Caves

Great-Martyr George

 

Patron saints of main benefactors

 

Saint Anna, Mother of the Mother of God

Saint John the Dwarf

 

Saints with important anniversaries during the time of work on the project

 

Saint Sergius of Radonezh

Saint Vladimir of Russia

Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco

 

Patron saints of the iconographer and his family

 

Saint Dimitri

Martyr Kira

Martyr Nika

 

Saints of significance to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia as a whole

 

Saint Job of Pochaev

 

Saints of parish significance

 

Saint Alexander Nevsky

Archangel Michael

Martyr Vitaly

Saint Olga of Russia

Martyr Evgenia

Martyr Lucea

Martyr Irina (not Great-Martyr)

Saint Mary of Palestine

Martyr Natalia

Saint Helen, Equal-to-the-Apostles

Martyr Raisa

Saint Maria of Radonezh

Great-Martyr Katherine

Great-Martyr Anastasia

Saint Mary Magdalene, Equal-to-the-Apostles

Martyr Antonina

New-Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth

 

Others saints included at the request of the rector

 

Saint Nina of Georgia, Equal-to-the-Apostles

Great-Martyr Panteleimon

Blessed Xenia

Martyr Lydia

A new stand with an icon of the Mother of God

(22 Images)


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