Friday, July 10, 2015

Iconography in Harrow – NW London

The following small article was written by Fr Anastasios Salapatas, parish priest at St Panteleimon and St Paraskevi in Harrow, NW London, published in the Fellowship of Saint Alban and Saint Sergius – London Newsletter, Pentecost 2015, pp. 6-7.
‘The Greek Orthodox Community in Harrow has recently (between 2009-2011) had a new church building constructed in Byzantine style and dedicated to SS Panteleimon & Paraskevi. In May this year (2015) the apse in the Sanctuary was painted by the famous Greek icon-painter Theodoros Vogdanos, with his assistants Penelope Papademetriou and Stella Kelantonidou. The Church Committee had given the order to Theodoros Vogdanos of Thessaloniki, Northern Greece, and he has used all his talents and inspiration, as well as prayerful faithfulness to our Holy Orthodox Tradition, in order to produce excellent results.

The process started with prayers for the painters and for their valuable and sacred work. The icons painted on the apse are: The Virgin Mary, “Platytera” (‘of the Heavens’ meaning “more spacious than the heavens”), the patron saints of the Church, the Great Martyrs St Panteleimon and St Paraskevi, and on either side of the Platytera’s head one flying angel with open wings and in very bright colours, holding a scroll containing words and phrases (in Greek ) from the Service of the Salutations to the Blessed Virgin Mary” The scroll of the angel on the left reads: “Rejoice, shelter of the world that is wider than the cloud!” The scroll of the angel on the right reads: “Rejoice, for you hold the One who holds everything!”
On the very top of the Sanctuary apse one can see the Holy Napkin, accompanied by two exceptionally beautiful angels. Other icons painted on the apse are the Communion of the Apostles, sic Holy Hierarchs and six Prophets.

The Church Committee is at the moment considering the next phase of the iconography, which will most probably be the dome with Jesus Pantocrator on it. It will definitely take some time before the whole interior is painted, but it is certainly an exciting project.’ 

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