Students Explore the Meaning and Purpose of the Icon
St. Vladimir's Seminary Professor of Hermeneutics and Liturgical Art Richard Schneider recently led a group from his Orthodox Iconology class to New Haven, CT, for a day of viewing Christian art and icons. The class started at an exhibit of Russian icons at the Knights of Columbus Museum. The next stop was the Yale University Art Gallery, where the group viewed wall paintings from the earliest surviving Christian house church at Dura-Europos. Finally, the class visited Yale Divinity School to view an exhibit of icons by the contemporary Greek iconographer George Kordis.
Noted Professor Schneider, "Throughout our day, we moved from the origins of Christian iconography, to Byzantine and post-Byzantine development, to the most recent expressions. In so doing, we saw both the continuity and creativity in iconography as a living and creative language."
The field trips are a vital part of introducing students to Iconology and are indicative of St. Vladimir's ongoing commitment to the liturgical arts. Professor Schneider's regular Spring term class is always open not only to students but to the general public. "This is especially useful for iconographers who are interested in exploring the theological basis for their work," he explained.
Also in the spring, The Rev. Dn. Evan Freeman (SVOTS M.Div. '09, Th.M. '12), Yale University doctoral student in Byzantine and Medieval Art History, offered a talk hosted by the St. Juliana's Society at St. Vladimir's. In his May 19 presentation, "Taste and See: Iconographic Programming in the Liturgy," Dn. Evan encouraged the women of the Society to consider how icons are used in churches and in the Liturgy. Why, for example, are certain icons located in specific parts of the church building? What is the relationship between images and liturgical actions? How do liturgical texts and hymns influence icons?
"As future leaders and teachers in the Church, it is important that we seek to understand the role of icons in the Liturgy and be prepared explain icons to those around us," noted Dn. Evan.