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Who is allowed to paint icons, according to Orthodox Church laws?

idahoon1

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Nowadays many people take up icon painting. There are a lot of small studios selling (usually) poor quality paintings - but I've heard that in the view of Orthodox church it is not "entirely" legal...

Is it always necessary to receive a blessing from the Bishop of a given place - or is it only required for a full-time, large scale iconographers?

Let's say somoeone has been painting icons for 10 years - can he or she set up a website, make up a logo for their studio and show icons they painted? Or is it required to receive a blessing first? I'm not talking even about painting for sale - but just displaying the icons as being painted in one's iconographic studio...

I'm asking because this topic seems quite different in Europe, different in the East and completely different in Greece :D
 

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I wondered this same thing. Thanks for posting. Looking forward to the responses...
 

hecma925

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Is it required? No. Anyone can set up any legal business they want, depending on the country. Spiritually, it is another question. On Etsy, as an example, there are tons of handpainted icons that should just be burned. The artists may be well meaning and even pious, but they won't stop because of pride. Note, this isn't a case of "if it's not Byzantine, it's trash!" I mean all styles and media, even bas-relief carvings.

I know, personally, of one iconographer who was blessed by his bishop and does iconography for his diocese. I was told it was more of a "stamp of approval" from the bishop; people shouldn't fear thay his work is garbage or uncanonical. But he had been painting icons for years before that point.

I think it shows humility to ask for a blessing to embark on that journey to go from an artist to iconographer. As far as it being a must, I don't know.
 

Tzimis

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Iconography in Greece is usually allowed to be written by those inside the church, for a few reasons. One, being because it's a revenue source for the church and two, because Icons outside of the church often depict heretical material.
 

idahoon1

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I can't even imagine how a non-orthodox person can paint icons :D

Let's say, someone is a practising parishioner, but does not belong to clergy.

Is it ok to have an iconographic studio or does one need a special blessing?
 

hecma925

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There have been at least a dozen times in the past two years when an inquirer has asked my priest about painting icons. None of them lasted through the catechumenate.
 

hecma925

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I can't even imagine how a non-orthodox person can paint icons :D

Let's say, someone is a practising parishioner, but does not belong to clergy.

Is it ok to have an iconographic studio or does one need a special blessing?
If he is an active parishioner, why not ask for a blessing?
 

Stinky

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I didn't know this was a thing until I first casually started looking into orthodoxy a couple years ago and noticed the priest's wife lost all color in her face when I announced to her that I was going to "make a bunch of icons my own way." Her pale death stare/ deer in headlights at me provoked more questions from myself and she eagerly explained to me that it is a holy process brought about with much fasting. Well, the "fasting" part stopped everything in its tracks. Since then I understand a tiny bit more that I should never approach such a calling or gift in my own zeal. I'm scared to buy from anyone now. I will make do with what has been given to me by priests.
 

hecma925

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That's a bit much, but it is serious.
 

hecma925

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I can't get her pale death stare out of my head....
Based on what you wrote, you were quite casual speaking about what should be a holy work.
 

Arachne

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I can't even imagine how a non-orthodox person can paint icons :D
RC artists can appreciate the style. Theophilia has made several of RC saints. Not something that we would venerate, but they would be okay among her people.
 

Stinky

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Based on what you wrote, you were quite casual speaking about what should be a holy work.
This is correct. If her look had not gotten my attention and opened the door for my further instruction I would have done wrong: Schlock burn material with confession. I'm grateful she helped me.
 

hecma925

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This is correct. If her look had not gotten my attention and opened the door for my further instruction I would have done wrong: Schlock burn material with confession. I'm grateful she helped me.
Glory to Our God.
 

Luke

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The good icon painters spend a long time with training and prayer to get where they are at. Then sometimes they do a short "few-days" session with parishioners. It makes me wonder. 🤔
 

Stinky

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The good icon painters spend a long time with training and prayer to get where they are at. Then sometimes they do a short "few-days" session with parishioners. It makes me wonder. 🤔
I heard of this too and I couldn't figure out how that works. Do they give a few pointers on technique and color scheme and send people home with a new desire to produce their own- like I almost did.
 

hecma925

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The good icon painters spend a long time with training and prayer to get where they are at. Then sometimes they do a short "few-days" session with parishioners. It makes me wonder. 🤔
What does that mean?
 

Dominika

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The good icon painters spend a long time with training and prayer to get where they are at. Then sometimes they do a short "few-days" session with parishioners. It makes me wonder. 🤔
There have been such courses at my parish, also a few other Orthodox places in Poland do it - plus we have normal iconographic school in Bielsk Podlaski. The courses at my parish is taht people are learnt certain technic and write just one icon for them. It lasts about 1 week if I remember correctly.
 

idahoon1

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Although there is one ah... "state school" in Bielsk Podlaski, there is another one in Kraków, at the Orthodox Parish. It is not a school sensu-stricto, but semestral iconographic courses - and groups that resembles iconographic school. I know people who has been attending such groups for over 10 years now.

I know they have blessing from the Wladyka Szymon (Memory Etarnal!), but do not know if they can start their own studios without such blessing.
 
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