Time Travel and Iconography II

I chose the icon of St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

You might wonder why I chose this particular saint: I fell in love, deep religious love and respect, after I found out about her life and love for our Lord.

James (Phil’s assistant) hands out the wood boards (already prepared for painting), brushes, patterns, a whole collection of paint tubes and jars, compasses, rulers, pencils, erasers and a prayer.

With heads bent, we all pray:

Prayer before beginning an ikon

O Divine Lord of all that exists,

Thou hast illumined the Apostle and Evangelist Luke

With Thy Holy Spirit,

Thereby enabling him to represent

Thy Most Holy Mother,

The one who held Thee in her arms and said:

“The Grace of Him Who has been born of me

Is spread throughout the world.”

Enlighten and direct my soul, my heart and my spirit.

Guide the hands of Thine unworthy servant

So that I may worthily and perfectly portray

Thine ikon, that of Thy Mother and all the saints

For the glory, joy and adornment of Thy Holy Church.

Forgive my sins

And the sins of those who will venerate this ikon

And who, bowing devoutly before it,

Give homage to those it represents.

Protect them from all evil

And instruct them with good counsel.

This I ask through the intercession

Of Thy Most Holy Mother,

The Apostles and Evangelist Luke

And all the saints.


After a brief introduction to the life of our saint, we start the five step process of icon writing:

  1. Blocks: laying out the foundations of the icon requires marking the border, centering and tracing the pattern and painting the first base color for all the major areas of the pattern;
  2. Garments: the inner lines of the garments are traced and followed on either side with lighter shades of the background color;
  3. Background and details: buildings, trees, animals or flowers depicted in ikons are the next area highlighted with lighter shades;
  4. Faces and hands: it is time to face your saint by following an intricate nineteen step process;
  5. Finish: the gold hallow around the head, a thin tracing around the border, the name of the saint and varnishing brings your ikon to completion.

The learn more about an Ikon Workshop, please watch the writing of St. Therese of Lisieux:


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