“The project is successful, but I have nothing to be proud of.”

You may have seen my parish in the Dallas Morning News.  They’re featuring an article and a video about the wonderful subdeacon who came to Dallas from the Ukraine to paint the walls of St. Seraphim’s Orthodox Cathedral.  Eight years later, he’s almost done.  I don’t know Vladimir well, but I am impressed with his humility, some of which comes out in the article.

An atheist, he ventured into secular landscapes and abstracts before finding a calling in iconography – the painting of religious images in what he has called the revelation of “the ultimate truth about God and man.”

“Trying to find the universal or real art, I came to church art,” Mr. Grigorenko says. “And the icons brought me to the church and to Christ.”

Eight years after he came to Dallas, Mr. Grigorenko, 43, is nearing the final strokes on a job that has drawn rave reviews.

[snip]

“It was a wonderful opportunity to finish the whole church with my own hands,” he says.

A critique?

“I feel good about the work. The project is successful,” he says point-blank. “But I have nothing to be proud of.

“The project is a work of God and me. He chose me, and I fulfilled his wish.”

Few Orthodox parishes are blessed with this wealth of artistic and theological blessings.  It is healing just to walk into St. Seraphim; healing and conducive to prayer.  The last time that I was at confession the priest pointed to an icon on the wall and offerred a couple homiletic words, words that have stuck with me.

There has been a great deal of talk about what an American Orthodoxy will look like.  Vladimir has given something tangible to the discussion.

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