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The best thing about going away …

… is coming home.

More over the weekend when I’m recovered. But for now, I’ll just say that at the monastery I was well-fed, well-accommodated, enchanted by beautiful (though incomprehensible) church services, in excellent company, and very well-satisfied with being a student iconographer. Thank you for making it possible.


  1. Shel
    Shel June 10, 2017 4:18 am

    I found my visit time at a monastery enchanting as well, to a degree that has to be experienced to be understood, at least in part. Leaving aside the church policy of requiring celibacy and vows of poverty (which insure there will be no heirs so the church keeps the money), the people who actually live that life are committed to that sacrifice. Although, as one father explained to me, they have internal political problems just like everyone else.

    We all need a break at some time. It’s wonderful you were able to get such a great one.

  2. Ron Johnson
    Ron Johnson June 10, 2017 5:08 am

    Welcome back. The place just wasn’t the same without you!

  3. Joel
    Joel June 10, 2017 5:50 am

    The place wasn’t anything without her, Ron.

    Wow, I have to get my act together. Jesus looks pissed.

    Welcome back, Claire. Did your teacher explain why the subjects of traditional Orthodox iconography always seem to be having such an unpleasant time of it? Because I’ve kind of wondered about that. Buddy Christ was an obvious parody of gruesome Christian imagery, but the Orthodox icons do seem to take it to eleven in the other direction.

  4. Pat
    Pat June 10, 2017 7:35 am

    Welcome back, Claire.

    The one problem with coming back is speeding up. Usually no one has to slow down in order to get back into normal mode. Instead, they must start (fill in the blank) back to work, planning, moving faster, multi-tasking, dealing with activities they dislike, and frequently being on guard against adverse ideas and regulations non-existent while in sanctuary. In our “normal” lifestyle, we must deal with what the world gives us – and that includes living at an increased pace. Hope you can start slow and keep up.

  5. jed
    jed June 10, 2017 9:31 am

    > … is coming home.

    I’m sure Ava agrees! 🙂

    I really like the painting. Really glad you were able to take the course too. Did you mix your own tempera, complete with piercing egg yolks?

  6. Tahn
    Tahn June 10, 2017 10:12 am


    Maybe that was his “cleaning out the Temple” face.

  7. MJR
    MJR June 10, 2017 2:25 pm

    It’s nice to see you are back Claire. I hope that with this sojourn completed it will be easier to tackle life’s little hurdles.

  8. Claire
    Claire June 10, 2017 2:50 pm

    Thank you all. For the wows, the good wishes, the observations, the welcome homes, and the speculations about WWJT (What Would Jesus Think). I don’t see him as looking angry. To me it’s more like that look a parent wears when a kid has really disappointed them. It’s that “I’m not going to yell at you, but you have deeply, deeply wounded your loving parent” look. OTOH, yeah, he could have looked just like that before lighting into the moneylenders in the temple.

    Maybe it’s a Rorschach test. 🙂

  9. coloradohermit
    coloradohermit June 10, 2017 3:14 pm

    That’s amazing!

  10. Dana
    Dana June 10, 2017 10:03 pm

    “Did your teacher explain why the subjects of traditional Orthodox iconography always seem to be having such an unpleasant time of it? Because I’ve kind of wondered about that.”

    I am a student, not a teacher. But St. Jerome used the term “white martyrdom” for those such as desert hermits who aspired to the condition of martyrdom through strict asceticism. I suspect that to civilized fools who do not live as they do, they appear rather miserable, but that in reality such martyrs posses a form of joy the civilized fools do not. (c.f. Wisdom 3:1-9)

    May a belly laugh one day “govern nations and rule over peoples.”

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