Monday, June 18, 2012

Orthodox Arts Journal!

I’m happy to tell you about a new blog I came across today. It’s published by Scott Patrick O'Rourke, the student of Andrew Gould, one of the best church architects in the Orthodox world today. The blog, entitled the Orthodox Arts Journal, seeks to cover all aspects of Orthodox liturgical arts such as sacred music, architecture and iconography. This new blog is a collaboration between Mr Gould and other fellow-craftsmen in the Orthodox arts today, including my friend, classmate and benevolent choir dictator director, Nicholas Kotar.

After a quick reading of the articles posted so far, I was quite impressed by their thoughtful depth. The first post by Jonathan Pageau outlines the fallen, human origins of art, and how Christ’s Incarnation can transform art into a revelation of the Kingdom of God. The next post by Andrew Gould draws out this topic. He writes on how all the arts, both minor and major, can reveal the Kingdom: “Even the smallest arts - a blend of incense, the embroidery on a sacred towel - directly represent an aspect of God’s Kingdom.” This is a good corrective for our unbalanced, rationalist age that puts so much attention on texts and our intellectual understanding of them. Mr Gould also wrote an interesting piece on a beautiful choros—a church chandelier—that he designed, an example of one of the “minor” arts.

One of my favorite posts so far is the one by Benedict Sheehan of St. Tikhon’s Seminary. Benedict, with whom I have the pleasure of being acquainted, wrote a very nice and succinct article—the first in a series—on the principles of sacred music. Since true sacred music is nothing other than a participation in the chorus of the angels, he writes, it needs to have certain qualities, which include a devoted and watchful disposition.

Finally, rounding out the posts are several by Fr St├ęphane Bigham in which he demonstrates that most Christians today actually do share the same presuppositions as the Fathers of the Second Nicene Council, and that thus nobody should have qualms about venerating icons.

In all, I was very impressed by these posts and am looking forward to more in the future!

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