The Transfiguration,
Painting by Ivanka Demchuk (born in 1990),
Painted in 2018,
Chalk gesso and paint on canvas
© IvankaDemchuk, all rights reserved

The Transfiguration,
Painting by Ivanka Demchuk (born in 1990),
Painted in 2018,
Chalk gesso and paint on canvas
© IvankaDemchuk, all rights reserved

Gospel of 25 February 2024

Up the mountain in their presence Jesus was transfigured

Mark 9:2-10

Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus: ‘Rabbi,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’ Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus.

As they came down from the mountain he warned them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what ‘rising from the dead’ could mean.

Reflction on the icon painting

Our painting is by Ukrainian contemporary icon painter Ivanka Demchuk. Born 1990, in Lviv, she graduated at the Sacral Art department in Lviv National Academy of Arts, receiving a masters degree with honors in 2014. She works in the old icon tradition of 'writing icons', but using new innovative techniques. Icons in Christian tradition, particularly within Eastern Orthodoxy, are often said to be "written" rather than "painted" due to their sacred nature and the theological truths they convey. This terminology reflects the belief that creating an icon is a form of prayer and a way of transcribing sacred Scripture into a visual format. The process of creating an icon is thus viewed as a liturgical act, with the iconographer following traditional protocols, fasting, and praying throughout the creation process.

Most of us would be aware of times in our lives when we did not really do ourselves justice. The way we spoke or acted, the way we related to someone, did not really express our better self. We can look back at such moments and recognize that we fell short of the person we are called to be. We can show different faces to others, not all of them faces we would be proud of. Yet, even when we fall short of our better self, we know that we always have the capacity to make amends. We can set out again and make a new effort to let our best self shine through, the self that is made in the image and likeness of God.

Unlike ourselves, Jesus did not show different faces to people. He always showed the same face, the face of God, because he was God in human form. In today's Gospel reading, we very clearly see the face of Jesus, as God. The same face as from the beginning of time and ever will be. But his disciples saw Jesus in a way they had never seen him before. The penny dropped and they now fully realised what Jesus' face truly looked like. They saw him with new eyes. Fundamentally, Jesus only reveals one face of God, the face of love.

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Jamie Cardinal
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Jamie Cardinal
1 month ago

The Golden Rule.
Matthew 12:7
“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.

Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
1 month ago

O HOLY SPIRIT,
sweet Guest of my soul, abide in me and grant that I may ever abide in Thee.
Amen
(From the Raccolta)

What a beautiful icon from Ivanka Demchuk.
She has ‘written’ this icon in such a beautiful way.
I never would have guessed that this was “written” (painted) in 2018…..amazing (and I am thankful) that this beautiful art is still being done and by such a talented artist. Thank goodness, we Christians have art to help us learn!
God bless Ukraine and God bless Russia……….may peace come soon and
may we all learn to live together as brothers and sisters.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jamie Cardinal
Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
1 month ago
Reply to  Jamie Cardinal

Amen.

Andy Bocanegra
Member
Andy Bocanegra
1 month ago

A beautiful icon that has such an ancient feel to it. We have an Eastern Rite Catholic Church not far from where I live. The Pastor, Father Thomas Loya is not only an expert in the Theology of the Body, but he has an art degree and is responsible for creating the iconography throughout the whole church.

https://wgntv.com/news/cover-story/priest-called-michelangelo-of-the-midwest-for-paintings-in-suburban-church/

Patricia O'Brien
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Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago

Added to ‘Favourites’ 😍

Elizabeth Hampton
Member
Elizabeth Hampton
1 month ago

How timelessly beautiful and authentic this icon shines out today, showing the important place such works of art still hold in our worship. Our son raised our awareness of iconography after visiting Istanbul for his honeymoon and even brought us home a small crucifix and a beautifully ornate bookmark which is an icon of the Madonna and Child – both of which hang in our bedroom as devotional aids. As the Transfiguration is his favourite Gospel reading, I shall certainly share today’s Christian Art page with him. Strange how things can strike one, though; my immediate response to the images of James and John was that they looked like snails about to withdraw into their shells, such was the fear and awe inspired by what they were witnessing.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago

Great analogy you give there of the appearance of the apostles.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago

Agreed, Elizabeth, they are in contrast to bold, brave Peter, who is looking up to Jesus, though shading his eyes from the dazzling light. How interesting that Christian iconography is sold in Istanbul.

Last edited 1 month ago by Noelle Clemens
Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Constantinople is still the seat of the patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Thanks, Chazbo, didn’t know. 👍

Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
1 month ago

“Eastern” Christianity can help us in the West……especially with their art.
Icons are so beautiful.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Jamie Cardinal

Yes – I like the fact that the icon is in itself holy. They are never framed as that ‘constrains’ them.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
1 month ago

This is a truly beautiful work of art- such talent and insight! The Orthodox tradition keeps Christian Art in a pure and transcendent way, where I feel western art often fails to do so. This is a work to ponder on, not for a minute or an hour or even a lifetime but indeed, for all time. There is truth here so beautifully expressed.

Last night we had a Communion service instead of mass. The Deacon who lead it admitted to it being his first time, but he did a great job. He read us this poem by Malcolm Guite and I will share this ending of it with you, as it means something to me today I can’t express in my own words:

‘…The Love that dances at the heart of things
Shone out upon us from a human face
And to that light the light in us leaped up,
We felt it quicken somewhere deep within,
A sudden blaze of long-extinguished hope
Trembled and tingled through the tender skin.
Nor can this blackened sky, this darkened scar
Eclipse that glimpse of how things really are.’

God bless you all- have a peaceful and restful Sunday everyone.

Clare Kent
Member
Clare Kent
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Beautiful poem, thank you for sharing

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Thanks so much for giving us that poem extract, SgG. The last couplet is so appropriate for this time.

Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Wow…..that truly is a beautiful poem….thanks SFG for sharing that.
Malcolm Guite …… what an awesome poet!

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago

How wonderful that the tradition of icon icon “writing” is flourishing. As Father Patrick often shows us, masterpieces do not belong only to the past, and today, the day after the two-year anniversary of the start of the war in Ukraine, it is especially heart-warming to see this work.
Apart from its overall beauty, I’m struck by the the little white floaters or particles within the nimbus. They are so similar to the nuclear pores seen within some diagrams of a nucleus: first there is the outer nuclear envelope; then the chromatin, the inner “flesh of the fruit”, making up the texture of the nimbus, in which are suspended the nuclear pores, here the white particles; then at the centre, the nucleolus, the figure of the Christ.
There is an almost mystical link between Christianity and science. For me they are complementary. I am in awe of both, with very little intellectual understanding, rather a clinging to St John’s assurance “For God so loved the world….” and “Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”
Dear Peter, who in the face of the transfiguration, when there was nothing to say, had to say something, from a heart full of awe.
God bless this day for each and everyone at CA – greetings.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

I so agree with this insight Noelle- you expressedso wellwhat I would have fumbled to say. Thank you.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

I echo your response to Noelle’s post. SfG x

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

🌺🌺🌺

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Thank you Noelle. The link between Christianity and science, fides et ratio, grows in importance in the AI era. Discerning truth becomes harder every day. I need to double-down on applying God’s precepts in filtering responses from algorithms produced by data scientists.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

Yes, thank you, Mark. We should all be making the effort to understand more of the rapid developments in the world around us, not just be absorbed in our own little worlds – but tis hard.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago

What a wonderful image we have today,..I truly thought it was ancient yet it might have been created a few weeks ago! Just beautiful.fr Patrick’s reflection today is uplifting and inspiring, explaining Christ’s totally authentic ‘face’.
Please God we can present our face as being an authentic follower of His.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago

Thank you Patricia. Let’s do that!

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
1 month ago

Yes, thank you Patricia.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago

What a beautiful painting. I have always loved icons and have recently had two ‘written’ for me in Romania. One for my patron saint and one for my new granddaughter. I think they are beautiful.

I am having a difficult weekend with my little dog in severe pain from worsening arthritis making her joints swell and walking almost impossible. I have had to cancel arrangements which I don’t like doing and nor do the people that I have arranged to see. Worse things are happening in this world as we all know.

Let’s pray for the people of Ukraine who are suffering grieviously, an end to the rising tide of anti-semitism in our country (the oldest hatred), and harmony with our Muslim fellow citizens.
Amen

Clare Kent
Member
Clare Kent
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Amen

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Dear Chazbo, I have a feeling that your friends will understand the pain you are going through, and how much you dislike disappointing them. Thank you for contributing to the growth in my relationship to Jesus.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

Thanks Mark. Just back from visiting my brother. Two hours there and two hours back!😧

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