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Location: Houston, Texas, United States

My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Article on Icon Exhibit

The following article on this weekend's Icon Exhibit at St. Jonah Orthodox Church appeared today in the Houston Chronicle:

St. Jonah Orthodox Church to display rare icons
Exhibit items are hundreds of years old

Chronicle Correspondent

They are breathtakingly beautiful, quite old, and practically priceless. And, for the third year, St. Jonah Russian Orthodox Church will welcome the community to view their amazing icons.
The term icon, from the Greek word eikon, means "image."

"Icons are a big part of the Eastern Orthodox Church and we use this as an opportunity to give back to the community, as an outreach. This is something we decided to do as a church," said church council president Nicholas Worontsoff.

What you can expect

More than 50 gilded icons, representing Jesus, Mary, the major saints, feast days and holidays, will be on display Friday-Sunday. They are from the private collection of a church member and are hundreds of years old.

"They are a part of our worship services, windows into heaven. We do not worship the actual icon but what it represents," Worontsoff said.

Expert guidance

Experts will be on hand to explain what each item represents and its significance as well as to explain the colors and style techniques.

Ethnic pastries and Russian-themed books and gifts will be available for purchase.

"We want to invite everyone to come see the icon collection it's free. We want people who are Russian Orthodox to come and we also invite everyone else who is curious to come. It's not often that you get to see old icons," said Father John Whiteford.


The church will present lectures on orthodox evangelism, the history of iconoclasm, and the culture associated with orthodox Christianity.

"We really want people from all backgrounds to understand Orthodox Christianity not as some weird or exotic religion but as rooted in Christianity," Whiteford said.

He will present a talk on the history of iconoclasm Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m., using the icons as examples.

Father Joseph Huneycutt, author of One Flew Over the Onion Dome, a book about contemporary Orthodox Church, will be a guest speaker Friday evening, addressing the topic of Orthodox Evangelism.

Choir performance

The church choir will perform hymns from various seasons on Saturday and Sunday.

"This exhibit itself is alone really top-quality. There are a number of really impressive, high quality icons," Worontsoff said.

Though the congregation currently meets in leased strip shopping center space, they hope to be in a new facility for next year's icon exhibit.

"We have more people come each year we have the event," Whiteford said. "It really is a unique experience to see the icons outside of a museum and in the context of worship. Their native environment is the best way to appreciate them."


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