Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My Our Lady of Kazan


....and thinking of Saints
I love this icon of Our Lady of Kazan; it is one of my favourite possessions. It is Russian 19th century. It is a profound theological work. As with any icon one must ask, what is being said. It is beautifully painted; it has lost its okhlad, the silver covering, most probably just after the Revolution. As you can see it is a bit battered, bits of gesso missing, I love the fact she survived. I love the design, how clever the artist/theologian was in the way that things revolve around her eye, which both looks at the viewer but also directs us to the Son, who in turn points to Her. She is beautiful and tender yet immensely strong. This strength is echoed in her Son who stands upright facing the viewer, yet looking at his Mother. The simple colour scheme, brown for humility of the earth; blue for heaven; gold for grace and glory, add to her dignity. There is stillness and silence in this painter/theologian’s work.
I bought it when my mother started her long process of dying; her anniversary is later this month, not really thinking that it had much to do with her, and yet it does, I am not yet sure what yet but it does. The more I live with it the more it reveals its secrets, slowly, silently.
Notice her eyes are enlarged because she sees the beatific vision and how her flesh enlightened by it, and how you want to enter the picture where the Saviour’s hand is blessing. Through this blessing you are invited into communion with them. Here is something about the Eucharist, the communion of saints, the Church, divine and human love, the relationship of The Mother and Son and all mothers and sons.
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Alma Redemptoris Mater, quae pervia caeli
Porta manes, et stella maris, succurre cadenti,
Surgere qui curat, populo: tu quae genuisti,
Natura mirante, tuum sanctum Genitorem
Virgo prius ac posterius, Gabrielis ab ore
Sumens illud Ave, peccatorum miserere.
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Loving Mother of our Savior, hear thou thy people's cry
Star of the deep and Portal of the sky!
Mother of Him who thee made from nothing made.
Sinking we strive and call to thee for aid:
Oh, by what joy which Gabriel brought to thee,
Thou Virgin first and last, let us thy mercy see.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where is Kazan?