Br Michaël on The Iconostasis Programme - Mucknell Abbey
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Christ Pantocrator June 2018

Br Michaël on The Iconostasis Programme

A year ago exactly (well, more or less) I had the privilege of attending a week-long Icon course led by iconographer Peter Murphy. Peter was a pupil of Spanish artist and iconographer Guillem Ramos-Poqui and has been studying and writing Icons for more than twenty years. I had been introduced to the discipline by Br Philip, but this week with Peter was an eye-opener to a world yet to be explored and of which I had only begun to scrape the surface. It was also tremendously helpful in improving my technique.

Following this week Peter very generously invited me to follow his three year course in Canterbury called The Iconostasis Programme. Here is an excerpt from his website:

“This is a course […] to enable students to undertake a comprehensive study of Byzantine icon and panel painting techniques. The structure of the course allows students to study up to three separate, but interlinked one year units. Students can choose to study for one, two or three years. It is expected that after three years of study the student will have acquired the sufficient skills, knowledge and expertise to enable them to function as an independent iconographer”

Every month, for seven months of the year, a group of between 10-12 students from a variety of backgrounds and different stages on the course meet with Peter for three days. While exploring the technique of Byzantine Icon painting, it is also an opportunity to learn about the rich theology and history of this art. Most of this I follow-up back at the monastery.

During my visit to Canterbury I have been staying with the Sisters at nearby Malling Abbey, who are showing me what Benedictine hospitality is all about.

I have recently finished an Icon of Christ Pantocrator [see above] and am started on a Hodegetria.

This course is really exciting, inspiring and is nurturing a hidden vocation within my vocation to the monastic life. Only God knows what lies ahead and sometimes life changing event are hiding ever surprising blessings.


Br Michael OSB