"An internationally respected Catholic iconographer who now lives in the Diocese of Juneau, Deacon Rohrbacher has observed a growing fascination with icons in Western Christianity over the past quarter century.
“I often ask theologians and church leaders why there has been a resurgence in icons,” he said in a telephone interview with the Anchor. “They most commonly tell me that it is due to a deep hunger for transcendence.”
It is a hunger that Deacon Rohrbacher has seen cut across denominational lines as modern Christians seek deeper spiritual realities in an increasingly secular world. “The icon is a healing image,” he said. “So many modern images we see do not heal — they wound us. They are of terror and abuse. In the icon, Christ, Mary and the saints look on us in love and invite us to contemplation.”
Two of the largest Roman Catholic parishes in the Anchorage Archdiocese also have made recent moves to expand the place of icons within their communities. Most notably, a large four-by-six-foot icon of the Holy Family is under construction for prominent display in the sanctuary at Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage.
Dominican Father Francis Hung Le, pastor of the cathedral, said he hopes the icon will bridge the wide cultural and linguistic diversity within the church and point the faithful to the transcendent truth reflected in the sacred image.
“We have so many languages at the cathedral but icons can speak a universal language,” he told the Anchor.
The Cathedral in Anchorage is run by Western Province Dominicans and I hope to visit it in early May when I go to Anchorage to help teach a Called & Gifted workshop there.
Within the province, we have our own bi-ritual (Latin/Melkite) iconographer: Fr. Brendan McAnerney, OP whose ministry DominIcon is a busy one. Fr. Brendan is a gifted teacher and preacher and if he is offering something near you, I'd jump at the chance.
Here is Fr. Brendan's calendar for 2009:
February 15-21 "Art & Spirituality of the Icon" Presentation - St. Justin Martyr Parish, Anaheim, CA - contact person: Fr. John Monestero 714-774-2595
June 15-June 19 "Icon - Sacred Image" - Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology, Berkeley, CA - 510-849-2030
June 22-26 "Introduction to Icon Painting" - Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology, Berkeley, CA - 510-849-2030
August 8-13 "Art & Spirituality of the Icon" Presentation - St. Gertrude Benedictine Monastery, Cottonwood, ID - 208-962-3224
October 1 "Sacred Image" - A Presentation to the St. Anselm Institute, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
October 5-9 "Level II Icon Workshop" Church of the Ascension Episcopal, Knoxville, TN - contact person: Jim Phillips 865-577-2509