It is hard for me to imagine the development of relations between the Churches of East and West without turning to the Tradition of the Undivided Church, to the common pages of the history of Christendom. An essential role in this Holy Tradition is played by the figures of saints who shone forth in different countries, but are venerated both in the West and in the East, in the Catholic Church and in the local Orthodox Churches.
I hope that the meeting of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill on Cuba in February 2016 will open a new chapter in the history of dialogue between Eastern and Western Christianity, dialogue that never ceased, but sometimes, not so distant past included, went through hard times.
Over the centuries-long history of such dialogue, a special place has always been held by the sacred art: church architecture, sculpture, decorative art, and icon painting. Both in the Orthodox and in the Catholic Churches, the 20th century saw the rediscovery of Eastern icon tradition and, in a broader sense, the renewal of the discourse of theology of image.
With this project, we aim at carrying on this fraternal communion and engaging artists, icon painters, Christian communities, cultural centres, and exhibition halls in Europe and Russia.
Project initiator and curator
Aims of the project
— To draw the attention of Christian communities in the East and in the West to the images of saints of the first millennium
— To bear common witness as Orthodox and Catholics to the Christian roots of Europe
— To contribute to the development of modern Christian culture
— To foster cultural exchange between Christian communities of Europe and Russia
Objective of the project: to create and present by means of an exhibition project the iconography of saints from Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the UK, and other European countries. To set out their images within the iconographical canon, yet, instead of looking at their deeds and virtues from the perspective of 'an abstract Christianity', trying to perceive it from the point of view of the reality of the 21st century. What do the saints tell us, those who live today? Quest for the answer to this question is the main objective of our project.
— Icon painters
— Cultural centres
— Exhibition halls
to join the project
Images of Saints of the Undivided Church project was launched at the Sacred Arts and Architecture Laboratory on 15–17 July 2016 at Sergiev Posad.
The official webpage of the project was launched in September 2016 and is a key instrument of information support and administration of the project, as the participating icon painters represent different cities and even countries. The webpage will include work materials for the participants, such as the list of saints, recommended icon dimensions (optionally), saints' lives, supplementary visual materials (icons, frescoes, miniatures), legal documents, and eventually the virtual exposition of the selected icons.
Exhibitions are to become the focal cultural event of the project. First stage will see the icons exhibited in Minsk (Fall 2017), Ekaterinburg, Perm, St Petersburg and Moscow. Second stage will include several European countries. Currently negotiations are being held with partners in Austria, Belarus, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and Spain.
— September 2016 — January 2017 – forming the circle of participants for the project.
— February — June 2017 – painting of the icons, work of the Experts (Selection) Board.
— December 2017 – February 2018 – first exhibition in Minsk.
— June 2017 – December 2018 – exhibitions in various cities in Russia and Europe
Project initiator and curator:
Chair of the Board of Trustees:
His Eminence Innokenty, Bishop of Nizhny Tagil and Serov
Chair of the Experts Board:
Head of the Secretariat:
— Bogoslov.ru Portal
— Blagovest-info Information Agency
— Grad Petrov (City of Peter) Radio Station of the Metropolia of St. Petersburg
— Dary (Gifts) Almanac
— Rublev.com Online Magazine