Saint Patrick

St Patrick, kidnapped
St Patrick kidnapped into slavery

“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals His thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth– the LORD God Almighty is His name.” –Amos 4:13

Saint Patrick of Ireland

Saint Patrick Icon

As a young boy, Patrick was kidnapped by brutal pirates and carried away to Ireland where he was sold as a slave.  For the next six years he was a shepherd in Northern Ireland.  This is where he learned to pray. “In a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and at night only slightly fewer.” The Confession of St. Patrick.

“I arise today

in a mighty strength

calling upon the Trinity,

believing in the Three Persons

saying they are One

thanking my creator.”

In the experience of slavery and exile, the young boy  discovered God . In the midst of this terrible alienation brought on  by his exile from family and country, Patrick experienced a deep abiding connection that enabled him to feel strengthened by God.

St. Patrick baptizing the Irish
St. Patrick baptizing the Irish drawing by Christine Hales

He is a legend in Irish history and spirituality.  Patrick’s story of being kidnapped by Irish pirates eventually gave rise to a remarkable inner transformation that led him  eventually to return to Ireland, serving the Irish people by bringing God’s love to them.

Like St. Francis, Patrick chose a lifestyle of poverty, preferring to single-mindedly focus on the Divine connection within.  “For I know full well that poverty and adversity suit me better than riches and delights.”

Saint Patrick Icon

One often sees Icons of St. Patrick holding a shamrock, an illustration of how he used the humble clover leaf to illustrate the Trinity- three in one- to the largely pagan population Ireland.  Pre-Christian Ireland was where God sent Patrick.  His spiritual story is told in “The Confession of St. Patrick”, along with many Scriptural references that relate to his experiences.

Patrick was born in Britain about  385, and began his mission  in Ireland during the early 400’s.He became fluent in the Irish dialect during his period of slavery, and despite much hostility and danger, he was very effective in bringing the Gospel to Ireland.

Saint Patrick founded many churches and monasteries across Ireland.

Saint Patrick Icon
Saint Patrick Icon

Holy Bishop Patrick,

Faithful shepherd of Christ’s royal flock,

You filled Ireland with the radiance of the Gospel:

 The mighty strength of the Trinity!

Now that you stand before the Savior,

Pray that He may preserve us in faith and love!

Icon notes for March:

The American Association of Iconographers now has a Facebook Page which you are welcome to join.  The rules of the page are that postings may be submitted by any member and the content needs to be of interest and benefit to Iconographers.

Video of Iconographer George Kordis beginning a Christ Pantocrator dome:

Blessings and Prayers,

Christine Hales

New Christian Icons

Icon Painting Classes Schedule for 2018

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The New Year- 2016

Dear Fellow Iconographers:Christ the Healer2civa

As we prepare for the New Year, it is a time of hopes, dreams and prayers for a better world.  One of the most important aspects of Icon writing for me is that of making intercessory prayer a part of my painting practice.   Because joy is relational, the community of Iconographers is an important community building prayer fellowship where we encourage one another and work toward wholeness in our families and communities through painting, praying, and sharing with one another.


“Thou my best thought, in the day and the night…”

Lord, I think many things, I think many thoughts, let me not forget you, nor lose sight of You, even for a moment.

Thou my best thought.



Here are some interesting links pertaining to Iconography:Elijahtall


Link to Orthodox Art Journal articles of interest:

Review of the book,” Icon as Communion” by George Kordis

An Interview with Iconographer Julia Bridget Hayes


In July of 2015 Christine received an exciting commission to write the Icons of the two founders of Graymoor- a Fransicscan Monastery in New York, Each Icon panel is 8’ x 3’, with the Icon figures being larger than life size!

The drawings have been approved and the Icons are progressing very well. Photographs of the work in progress will be coming along.johnbaptistprint

Icon Writing Classes in New York

Albany Monday nights 6-9PM at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, Chestnut St. Albany :  On Holiday until February 8, 2016

Arts Center of the Capital Region,  Introduction to Icon Writing 5 Thursday evenings 6-9Pm  March 8-April 5

Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY  Introduction to Icon Writing  May 6,7, & 8

Icon writing is a manifestation of God’s Spirit as well as the effect of cultural influences in a given era. As the interest in Icon writing continues to grow, this blog will be a place to share new Icons, talks and workshops in 2016.

Sending you all many blessings and best wishes for a blessed New Year.

Christine Hales


Principles of Iconography: Sacred Geometry

Dear Fellow Iconographers:

This month I want to focus on one of the important (to me) principles of Iconography: Sacred Geometry.  I think that as Iconography evolves into a twenty-first century authentic expression of spirituality for our time, one of the principles and traditions that is important to bring forward is that of incorporating principles of sacred geometry in our composition and colors.

What is Sacred Geometry?  

It has its roots in the study of the mathematical principles in nature, i.e. the hexagonal cells created by honeybees, the chambered nautilus, are just a few examples. This reflects the belief that God created the universe according to a geometric plan. Geometric rations are often used in architecture as can be evidenced in the works of Leonardo DaVinci, and Michelangelo.  It’s interesting that back in 500BC, Pythagoras discovered that an oscillating string stopped halfway along its length produces an octave relative to the string’s length, while a ratio of 2:3 produces a perfect fifth and 3:4 produces a perfect fourth. The belief was that using these harmonic rations gave music and art powers of healing that could harmonize the person experiencing them.christinglory

How does this  manifest in Icon writing?  

Composition, figure placement, relative scape and body proportions all benefit by having the principles of sacred geometry as the underlying structure. In a simple portrait Icon, the triangle is the basic geometric compositional structure. It produces a feeling of centeredness, grounding and balance. In order to avoid a static appearance, the face is usually a 3/4 view, or slightly turned.

George Kordis, in his book “Icon As Communion “ addresses the issue of stations and gives excellent examples of how to additional incorporate directional flow outwards toward the viewer. George Kordis also speaks of how a composition is purified and refined when the compositional elements are arranged symmetrically around the vertical axis, and this can produce dynamic balance. There is a sense of unity and energy that radiates out towards the viewer when these compositional elements are observed.BaptismofJesus18

I think one of the very best sources for clarification of sacred geometry in the Icon is Egon Sendler’s “The Icon, Images the Invisible”.  He provides an analysis of many classic Icons as examples of geometric structures for composition and explains how to use right angles to obtain the four points of a square as well as explaining the cross, grid and circle compositions of festal Icons.

The two images above: Christ in Glory and Baptism of Jesus were both written in egg tempera by myself and are based on sacred geometry principles handed down through the centuries.  You can see clearly the vertical axis in the Baptism Icon as well as the slightly turned faces.  The symbol center top is that of God the Father, the radiating gold rays symbolize the Holy Spirit, so that, symbolically, the vertical axis is the Unity of the Trinity.

I hope this provides material for thought and helps to create understanding as a community of Iconographers, of what principles are and are not important to retain in our work. To each his own, and I look forward to hearing your comments.

Blessings and prayers,