‘My peace I leave you, my peace I give to you’
While the Olympics get under way here in London, seven churches in the Southwark Diocese will be playing host the beautiful ICON above. In passing the ICON on to the next parish, churches take part in the ‘passing on of peace’. The beauty and symbolism in this sacred art speaks loudly to the senses.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster,
Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, and Bishop
Thomas McMahon of Brentwood, leaders of the
three ‘London’ dioceses, say,
‘On behalf of the dioceses of Brentwood, Southwark and
Westminster, we strongly support this initiative to create a peace legacy
for the 2012 Games. Here is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for
Catholics within and beyond London to take action for peace, locally,
nationally and globally to mark the Olympics and Paralympics.
The modern Olympics were founded to spread peaceful cooperation
through sport. Catholics in our three dioceses and beyond pray that
the peace in our hearts, homes, and communities will be a prominent
theme during London 2012 and prove a lasting legacy for future
I repost a taster of information from this website to whet your appetite:
The idea of the Pax Christi International Icon comes from the work for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East and the exposure programmes in Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and Palestine. The Peace Icon for Pax Christi was painted in the monastery of ‘St John in the Desert’, near Jerusalem and was given to the movement on July 1st 1999 in the city of Jerusalem. The Icon presents Christ, the source of reconciliation, the source of liberation and peace and symbolises the vital connections of the Eastern and Western Christian traditions in the Peace of Christ. The Icon has two central pictures. At the top Esau and Jacob who are seen embracing and standing on a sword at the time of their reconciliation. At the foot of the picture the title of the Icon, “ Christ our Reconciliation” is written in Greek. Latin and Hebrew. Underneath, the risen Jesus is teaching the Our Father to the disciples in the heavenly Jerusalem. At the foot of this, the words of the Our Father are written in Aramaic the language which Jesus is thought to have spoken. Other pictures show the biblical stories of Sarah and Isaac, Hagar and Ishmael, the woman at the well and the Syro-Phoenician woman. The saints include: Mary Magdalene, St Sophia, St Clare, St Boris and Gleb, St Stephen and St Francis.
In the Eastern Christian tradition an icon is the visible image of the Divine. The iconographer, who creates the icon, is instrumental in bringing about the spiritual process. The icon is the meeting of heaven and earth. The production of the icon includes times of prayer and fasting, and requires a knowledge of the codes of canon law, of both Eastern and Western traditions, knowledge of the church’s long tradition of iconography and a familiarity with the traditions of the ecumenical councils. The tradition of icon painting assumes that three people are present: the person in the icon, the painter and the viewer. The subject of an icon is not original. When the iconographer has decided who he is to paint he will find earlier depictions and will follow the tradition in his composition and style. For Byzantine Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic , icons play a central and vital part of their religious life. The icon follows the way God has created the world from darkness in the beginning to light in the end. The icon is written from the darkest parts to the lightest ones. When the icon is finished, a window to heaven is revealed.