Icons have been an aid for prayer since the Third Century. They are depictions of the Gospels usually, and are used in liturgical settings as well as for personal prayer. Leonid Ouspensky says that one gazes through the window of the icon into the heavenly realm with one’s heart, until “…one sees oneself being seen with the eyes of love.” The icon is a sacred symbol inviting the one gazing to participate in the mystery and be with those holy ones portrayed, directly, through the window or doorway of its border.
St. Michael the Archangel
Private Collection
11" X 13"
St. Joan of Arc
Private Collection
St. Louis, MO
10" X 13"
St. Alphonsus of the Fiery Heart
20" X 24"
All the light in an icon comes from the eyes and represents the holiness of God as lived through the life of the holy one. That is why the corners of the eyes are left open and do not meet.
 
Natural elements, such as gold leaf, chalk from the earth, wood, egg yolks, rabbit skin glue, tree rosin, pigments made from earthen clays and minerals are used to create the icons. Even beer is boiled and reduced to make a fine glue for applying gold.