OCP Icon of St Gregorious of Parumala Certified Authentic

by OCP on February 11, 2014

in Featured News, News

The OCP Icon of St Gregorious of Parumala

The OCP Icon of St Gregorious of Parumala

OCP News Service
Kisha D Dorado ( Director- Dept. of Church Research & Studies) – 11/2/14

Global: The OCP icon of St Gregorious of Parumala has been certified as authentic by the expert panel of Iconographers. It is one of the first ever icon written on the first canonized Indian Saint. It was prepared by Byzantine monks in USA under the special instruction of OCP Chancellor- Rt Rev Dr Kyriakose Thottupuram of Chicago. The original icon has been preserved at the residence of the Chancellor.

Recently some of them expressed their doubts on the authenticity of the icon and the case was referred to the Dept of Church Research and Studies of the OCP Society. With the consent of the OCP Secretariat the icon was submitted for detailed verification to the expert panel.

Comments from the Expert Panel

Fr Philaretos Archimandrite Klimakitis

Fr Philaretos Archimandrite Klimakitis

Archimandrite Philaretos Klimakitis (Theologian and Icon expert of the Traditional Greek Orthodox Church – The Holy Synod in Resistance)

“The style is totally Byzantine. It resembles Macedonian (northern Greek) style. Of course the vestments are Indian / Syrian Orthodox but the style is Byzantine especially the face. “

Anca Sirbu

Anca Sirbu

Anca Sirbu (OCP Delegate and Romanian Orthodox Iconographer)

“Certainly, it is an orthodox icon. The matter here is of style, whether is byzantine or not. I can say we have some distinguishing features for byzantine art here: the gold leaf background and vivid colors and of course some features are more plain like the presence of some elements we always meet in orthodox icons -the halo (nimbus), the cross and the specific garments. All these features along with the canonization make this icon a very orthodox one if I may say so, only the style of the writing is a mixture between byzantine and realism.”

Stephane Rene (Icon Expert of the Coptic Orthodox Church)

“There’s nothing ‘unorthodox’ in this icon. Those who criticise it do not know the difference between one and the other. Do they have an alternative? It was probably done from a photograph, so it is not symbolic, but its iconography is correct. The fact that his name is written and he wears a nimbus makes it an Orthodox icon. Although it does not belong to any particular school or style, I think it is rather good actually. I ‘nearly’ made some icons for an Indian Orthodox church in the US and St Gregorios was on the list and they sent me this image as a model, so I am quite familiar with it. I think it is rather strange that there should be only one icon of him and this perfectly reflects the complete lack of interest in iconography from the Indian Christian community. Their iconographic tradition is dead and no one even tries to bring it back and this attitude just keeps it dead.”

Hence we reinstate the fact that the OCP icon of St Gregorious of Parumala is indeed written in pure Orthodox Christian style and it may be the first Oriental Orthodox Saint from India whose icons has been prepared by Byzantine Orthodox  monks.

OCP Society had taken grave effort in popularizing the icon of St Gregorious of Parumala. It has been presented as a token of love to several Orthodox Christian personalities around the globe.

Source:
OCP News Service 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Suraj Iype February 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm

I would like to know what was the background to this controversy? I think OCP has done a good thing by having an icon written. Hopefully more icons will be written in India.

But I must diagree with some comments made in the article by some of the .
Yes Indians do not have an tradition of iconography and our received tradition from the East & West Syriacs is very reserved regarding the use of icons in worship both in the Church and at home. But that does not make us any less than the Churches that use icons. Icons do not constitute an essential element of salvation. One can pray before an italianate vinyl print of the Theotokos and yet be touched profoundly by action of the Holy Spirit. One could totally not use icons and only use a Cross and still be Orthodox.
Besides western influenced art is used much more indiscriminately by the copts and the west syrians than by the Indians. I am yet to see Indian priests use RC images of the Theotokos on their liturgical vestments and if that hapenned our Indian Bishops would stamp it out much more quickly.
While I see icons written in any style as a good first step; an ideal and correct icon for use of the Church in India, would be an icon written using traditional Syriac & Indian types. India has a very rich tradition of indegeneous art,any icon written in a Indo-Syriac style developed by Indians-for Indians, will be the most suited for use in veneration because it will touch our souls much more than a EO styled icon. Only then will an organic development of iconography develop in the Church in India. Eastern catholics in India do try to use Indian artistic templates as part of their “inculturation” attempts, but the Orthodox should aim to develop an Indian- Kerala style which depends on the received Syriac principles as part of being rooted in our liturgical framework.
Indians don’t need to appropriate Greek or neo-coptic types and think that any thing else is not authentic. That which speaks to our soul and does not contradict Orthodox theology is authentic. For that we don’t need any body else to grant us certificates.
It is good to look at what are the traditions of our fellow Orthodox and learn some good things from them but we are heirs and sons of Christ as much as they are.

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