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Hidden and Triumphant: The Underground Struggle to Save Russian Iconography
Hidden and Triumphant: The Underground Struggle to Save Russian Iconography
Hidden and Triumphant: The Underground Struggle to Save Russian IconographyHidden and Triumphant: The Underground Struggle to Save Russian IconographyHidden and Triumphant: The Underground Struggle to Save Russian IconographyHidden and Triumphant: The Underground Struggle to Save Russian Iconography

Hidden and Triumphant: The Underground Struggle to Save Russian Iconography

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Editor:Frederica Mathewes-Green
Translator:Irina Yazykova
Price:$26.99
Sale Price:$5.00   You Save 81%
Binding:Hardcover
Page Count:194
ISBN 13:9781557255648
Published:February 2010
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During the darkest years of Soviet power, iconographers kept alive one of Russia's brightest lights—the icon

"The 1920s and 1930s were a time of mass arrests and executions. With churches demolished and defiled and monasteries disbanded, there was every reason to fear for the continued existence of the Church itself. Meanwhile, revisionist propaganda was decimating the clergy; the authorities were waging a campaign of anti-religious sentiment in every corner of the country. Not the best time, one would think, to be painting icons…" —from the book

Skillfully translated from the Russian by Paul Grenier, this dramatic history recounts how the very heartbeat of Russian Orthodox art and spirituality–the icon–survived throughout the 20th century. Adopted from Byzantine tradition, Russian iconography continued to keep faith alive in Soviet Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. As monasteries and churches were ruined, icons destroyed, thousands of believers killed or sent to Soviet prisons and labor camps, a few courageous iconographers continued to paint holy images secretly, despite the ever-present threat of arrest. Others were forced to leave Russia altogether, and while living abroad, struggled to preserve their Orthodox traditions. Today we are witness to a renaissance of the Russian icon, made possible by the sacrifices of this previous generation of heroes.

A blinding flash of theological illumination has come out of Russia. The subject of Hidden and Triumphant is the history of icon painting in Russia. How did this ancient tradition, at the center of Russian spirituality, survive seventy years of persecution in the 20th century? It almost didn't, but the renewal of the tradition in the last twenty years is a remarkable story, beautifully told by Irina Yazykova. The introduction contains the best theology of the icon I have ever read.

Canon Michael Bordeaux, founder, Oxford Keston Institute, UK

Product Reviews for Hidden and Triumphant: The Underground Struggle to Save Russian Iconography

Hidden and Triumphant recounts the story of an aspect of Russian culture that fought to survive throughout the 20th century the icon. Russian iconography kept faith alive in Soviet Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. As monasteries and churches were ruined, icons destroyed, thousands of believers killed or sent to Soviet prisons and labor camps, a few courageous iconographers continued to paint holy images secretly, despite the ever-present threat of arrest. Others were forced to leave Russia altogether, and while living abroad, struggled to preserve their Orthodox traditions. Today we are witness to a renaissance of the Russian icon, made possible by the sacrifices of this previous generation of heroes. The author of Hidden and Triumphant, Irina Yazykova is a scholar of art history and the theology of the icon who lectures at St. Andrews Biblical Theological Institute and Kolomna Orthodox Theological Seminary. Translator Paul Grenieris is a writer, translator, and interpreter. Foreword author Wendy Salmond, a scholar of Russian and early Soviet art, architecture, and design is Professor of Art and Art History at Chapman University in California.

It is one of the many ironies of the past century that the celebration of Russian icons went hand in hand with a determined effort to eradicate the art of icon painting. In exchange for the icon's physical survival, Soviet ideology demanded a purging of its theological meaning and function, filling the void with content more palatable to a secular age. Histories written during that era tacitly accepted this state of affairs, taking for granted that the icon's home was now the museum and its relevance largely aesthetic and historical.

In Hidden and Triumphant, Yazykova challenges this familiar picture in the light of our own historical moment. Far from withering away during the Soviet years, she affirms, the practice of painting icons survived underground and with the fall of Communism emerged triumphant. The icon now stands on the threshold of a new epoch, and we are witnesses to the search for an iconic language that reflects the realities of our own experience.

So that readers may see the icon once more in its entirety, Yazykova invokes the centrality of the canon, the tradition of a precise language of visual signs by which the Orthodox believer experiences the presence of God. The icon preserves the canon by standing at the border between two worlds, awakening the viewer's spiritual vision through the workings of the physical eye.

A blinding flash of theological illumination has come out of Russia. The subject is the history of icon painting in Russia. How did this ancient tradition at the center of Russian spirituality, survive seventy years of persecution in the 20th century? It almost didn't, but the renewal of the tradition in the last twenty years is a remarkable story, beautifully told by Irina Yazykova. The introduction contains the best theology of the icon l have ever read. Canon Michael Bordeaux, founder, Oxford Keston lnstitute, UK

This is a much needed historical assessment of what has happened to the icon and iconographers since the Revolution, and an amazingly rich look at icons themselves their theological significance, place in the liturgy, and in the life of Eastern Christians. A most accessible yet comprehensive look at the entire history. I enjoyed it immensely. Michael Plekon, professor at Baruch College, and author of Living Icons: People of Faith in the Eastern Church and Holiness in Our Time

Hidden and Triumphant tells the dramatic and important history and theology of Russian icons for the first time.
SirReadAlot.org
June 2010

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