The Icon of Peace is a large sacred painting that was made in the Monastery of St John in the Desert, near Jerusalem, and was gifted to Pax Christi International in 1999.
The icon depicts Christ as the source of reconciliation, liberation and peace. It is an icon symbolising in itself the living connection between Eastern and Western traditions in expressing the peace of Christ.
Icons occupy a central and vital position in the religious life of Byzantine Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic. In the oriental Christian tradition an icon is a visible image of the Divine. The iconographer is instrumental in realising the spiritual process. The writing of the icon is a process which includes prayer and fasting. It requires a knowledge of the Church’s long tradition of iconography, of the codes of canon law of both East and West, and a familiarity with the tradition and teaching of the Ecumenical Councils.
Since an icon is no ordinary work of art, iconographers gave specific guidance and instructions about the creation of such holy objects. Following the way in which God created the world – from darkness in the beginning to light at the end – an icon is written from the darkest parts to the lightest ones. When an icon has been completed a window to heaven is revealed.
The upper part of the Icon of Peace shows the reconciliation of Jacob and Esau, surrounded by St Clare and St Francis of Assisi, St Mary Magdalene, Saints Boris and Gleb (two Russian brother princes), St Sophia and her three daughters, Faith, Hope and Love, and St Stephen, the first martyr. The lower part of the icon depicts other themes from Scripture:
Sarah and Isaac (Gen. 21:12), Hagar & Ishmael (Gen. 21:13), the Samaritan woman and Jesus (John 4: 5-26), the Syrophoenician woman and Jesus (Mark 7:24-30), Jerusalem in heaven (Joel 4:16-17), and the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:2-4).
Pax Christi UK have had the icon for some time and it has been used in a number of different contexts:-
- Displayed in churches, schools and cathedrals around the country;
- Used by university and prison chaplaincy teams;
- Used at ecumenical and interfaith gatherings (it speaks to the 3 Abrahamic traditions).
The Leeds Pax Christi group, with the support of the Justice & Peace Commission, are bringing the Icon to the Leeds Diocese for an 8 week period. This extends from Monday 20 February through to Sunday 16 April (Easter Sunday). So it covers all of Lent and Holy Week. There are 4 current bookings (but check the events page for the latest position) for the icon:-
27 Feb – 05 Mar St Joseph’s Pontefract
06 Mar – 12 Mar Wakefield Cathedral
13 Mar – 19 Mar St Joseph’s Pudsey
20 Mar – 26 Mar Skipton, Holy Trinity Church
If you are interested in hosting an event using the Icon in your community then please get in touch by emailing the J&P office at email@example.com
We will arrange transport of the icon (which is large- 150cmx82cm) to and from your parish. If you need help with your event then please ask. We will have copies of the Pax Christi liturgical and other materials for use with the Icon. We will also provide a small (2 board) exhibition with some details about both Pax Christi and the Justice & Peace Commission. Along with these there will also be some leaflets and some prayer cards that feature the icon. If you would like someone to speak about issues of peace and reconciliation at your event, we may be able to source a speaker.
Whilst this is offered at no charge to parishes and other groups within the diocese, we would welcome donations towards the cost of providing this resource.