Internationally Acclaimed Ukrainian Iconographer
at Christ The Saviour Church
Igor Stoyanov of Odessa, Ukraine, is painting icons for Christ The Saviour
Church, 365 Paramus Road, Paramus, New Jersey 07652-1511. Mr. Stoyanov
has painted icons for churches in Belgium, France, Ukraine, and the US.
While he is preparing large icons for the Church Auditorium, he is also
accepting private commissions.
Igor Stoyanov worked as a physicist in the Ukraine until age 30 when
he first walked into an Orthodox Church in his native land. The man's
life changed dramatically as the spiritual life drew him to the Orthodox
Faith and to iconography as an integral expression of the Faith. A monastic
priest taught Mr. Stoyanov tenets of Orthodoxy as well as Russian/Byzantine
iconography whose style goes back to at least the 11th century. Mr. Stoyanov
learned the sacred traditions of iconography and the practical methods
of applying gold-leaf, making paint pigments from minerals, and the preparation
of the surfaces of gesso board and linen canvas to receive the egg-tempera
Igor Stoyanov is married and has four children. His wife, Aleutina,
and his children, John, Elia, Xenia, and Apollanaria, reside in Odessa.
The oldest son, John, studies liturgical metal work and has crafted gold
and silver neck crosses with perfectly executed miniature sculptures
of Christ, the Theotokos (Mother of God), the angels, and saints of the
Church. John also prepares ornate gold and silver coverings to adorn
some of his father's icons.
Mr. Stoyanov works daily at his studio at Christ The Saviour
Church where he is surrounded by his icons in progress, pigments, egg-tempera
paints, and gold leaf. Igor prays while creating his icons, a traditional
practice of Orthodox iconographers, and listens to CD's of sacred music.
The ancient tradition of iconography originated in the days of the Apostles
when Saint Luke painted the first icon. The very first icon depicts the
Most Holy Theotokos holding the Christ-Child in her arms. Iconography
was recognized by the Church as an expression of the theology (often
called Theology in Color) of the Christian Church at the Seventh Ecumenical
Council in 787 AD. This recognition is celebrated annually on the first
Sunday of Great Lent. Icons are an integral part of Orthodox Christian
worship and are not considered to be "religious art" as understood
by Western Christianity.