As you know from this post, I watched the film Andrei Rublev last week, and have been unable to forget it. I decided tonight to check out the latest work from my Ukraine-born friend Vladimir Grigorenko, a Dallas-based iconographer who does incredible work. Here is a link to his website. 

Here’s some of the work he’s done:

Holy Ascension Church, Charleston SC

The Holy Trinity (after Andrei Rublev)

Interior of St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral, Dallas (photo: Andrew Johnson)

Take a look at this wonderful seven-minute video of work he’s done on a church in South Carolina. You get to hear Vladimir explain what an icon does:

Uniting Earth and Heaven from Andrew Johnson on Vimeo.

I called Vladimir tonight in Dallas. He tells me that he’s now reaching out to Catholic parishes to inquire about interest in having him create iconography (or mosaics) for their worship spaces. Why not? In this encyclical on ecumenism, Ut Unum Sint, Pope St. John Paul II said that the church needs to “breathe with her two lungs” — meaning east and west alike. I think so, yes. I wonder if Catholics are interested in bringing the Eastern icon vision into their churches. What do you Catholics think? Could these icons work in your parishes? I’ve seen them in Catholic and Episcopal churches before.

Anyway, Vladimir does individual commissions too. We pray every night in my house in front of a Christ Pantokrator (Christ the Ruler of All) icon he created for us back in 2005. Here’s his contact info. 

Sorry if I’m a little overexcited here. Andrei Rublev did it to me — and to think that I am friends with a modern-day iconographer whose sacred art is a blessing to my home is pretty great.

The face of Christ on the icon Vladimir Grigorenko wrote for my family. The cuts in the neck are from when the icon once fell off the mantle.