Gift Vouchers

For a long time, I've wanted to find a simple way to sell gift vouchers in the shop and finally, at last, the gift vouchers (tokens? cards?) are here! One of the challenges of commissioning an icon is when you - or the people you're buying for - can't decide on the saint or subject you'd like. Maybe you're getting married and would like guests to contribute to their special icon and these lovely vouchers mean you can do just that! The recipient will get have a professional, shiny card wallet and a printed voucher inside, along with a letter explaining how to use the vouchers and details … [Read more...]

St Triduana of Restalrig

Yesterday in the daily Liturgy here in Edinburgh we commemorated the Saint Triduana of Restalrig. She was one of 12 holy people who accompanied St Rule on his journey from Constantinople to Ireland with the relics of St Andrew the First-Called.  A monk on the island of Patras asked him to take the relics "to the end of the world" which in those days was Ireland!  God's providence blew them to thevkingdom of Fife in Scotland, where they were greeted by a very suspicious local chieftain. Their strange clothes & language made him believe these visitors were unfriendly but on seeing St … [Read more...]

Hymns and worms: an aside.

Have you ever heard of an 'ear worm'? It's when you get a tune or a phrase of music stuck in your brain that won't leave. A friend of mine once said that the best way to get rid of them is to sing "Lord have mercy" as we do in the litanies - and it certainly works. Today however, I found myself singing the hymn from the black and white version of The Bishop's Wife - one of my favourite films from many years ago, when I found myself watching television over an interminable Christmas break. I managed to track down the hymn and it is actually very beautiful. One to add to my list of 'happy worms' … [Read more...]

A New Icon: Christ and the Rich Young Ruler

This year I've been blessed with some unique commissions from outside the Orthodox Church - I love the opportunity to talk with Christians from other denominations and share our understanding of icons and the Gospel. One of these is the new icon of "Christ and the Rich Young Ruler" for the Dean of St John's Cathedral in Denver, Colorado, the very Rev. Charles LaFond. Most icons are commissioned, discussed and then go onto my waiting list. This one would have to be different and would have to jump the queue to be completed in time. Normally I would have said no straight away, but something … [Read more...]

Is there anybody out there? Why does God not answer?

Today I am very happy to share with you a sermon written by our much loved Archimandrite John Maitland Moir, who died in 2013, which Fr Raphael read out to us a few weeks ago. It touched me so much, and reminded me so much of Fr John, that I've asked permission to share it with you. It will also be available to download from the 'Articles' page. Why PETITIONS are “not answered” And How INTERCESSION Works by Fr John Maitland Moir “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain “Move hence to yonder place”, and it will move” You probably know the story of the … [Read more...]

Prayer: a needful thing.

I am talking on Thursday and Friday at the Abbey summer School  here in Edinburgh and I am facing the challenge of setting down in writing things that I have, over the last twenty years, internalised and absorbed. It is a great deal more challenging than I thought! While doing some research, I found the following site, which I found to be very helpful and thought it would be of use to many others. It does a far better job of saying what I want to say, albeit over many pages and not in a twenty minute discussion. Orthodox Prayer contains both practical and theological guides, with lots of … [Read more...]

From hen to board in less than one hour.

our ex-factory hens are laying beautifully. This morning I collected an egg at 7am and it was on the board by 8am! Glory to God for our chance to have these funny, productive animals in our lives. … [Read more...]

Tidying up

using a very sharp carving tool to just tidy up small areas of gold that have sneaked over the outline, as I restate the drawing a little bolder.    … [Read more...]

Three little birds

One of my favourite songs is Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds":  he sang about the usual things but he wasn't afraid to say "give thanks and praise to the Lord, and it will be alright"! So when in need of some energy or relaxation, I tend to play his greatest hits.  Today our own 'three little birds' arrived - although they are rather large!   Rescue hens from the Wing & a Prayer Rescue charity here in Scotland.  I had no idea they would be so large or indeed white! I assumed they would be typical brown/chestnut coloured.. But I don't mind. As you can see they are … [Read more...]

Useful Things

Very rarely I find something that will be useful to other painters & craftspeople. Here is one little gem.  The egg tempera mixture I use has to be kept in the fridge and I use variable amounts. I know others use small bowls or jars but I like the flexibility of squeezable bottles with dropper tops. Finding them has led me to very obscure websites in the past and I hadn't found any in the shops, until now. This little pack of three 35ml/1.18oz sauce bottles from Sistema, made in New Zealand from BPA free plastic are pretty close to perfect. They are big enough for a large egg mix but … [Read more...]