Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Melkite Church Blesses Icons, Those Who Serve

By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, Staff Writer | Published marzo 2, 2006  | Available In English

Father John Azar, pastor of St. John Chrysostom Church, recently commissioned Father Dimitri Leussis to create or “write” new icons on the walls of the Atlanta Melkite church. In the tradition of Orthodox Christianity, icons are said to be written because making them is not a form of art but more a form of prayer, with God guiding the hand of the iconographer.

Father Leussis is an Orthodox priest of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox diocese and is currently the administrator of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Rockford, Ill.

An iconographer for 40 years, Father Leussis writes icons in a Macedonian and Cretan style. His icons appear in numerous churches around the United States and abroad.

When writing icons he works in egg tempera and acrylic. For St. John Chrysostom’s new icons, the priest said, “I worked with acrylic on canvas. The figures were cut to form (shape) and are glued to the existing wall. The wall was prepared by painting a gold background with a lower green base.”

And on Sunday, Feb. 19, Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros, the Eparch of Newton, was on hand to celebrate a hierarchical liturgy and to bless the new and existing icons with holy chrism.

At the liturgy, he also presented five parishioners with the Cross of Jerusalem and certificates for their exemplary service at St. John Chrysostom Melkite Church. Those recognized included Margaret Alexander, Sohel Elias, Matilda Ghawi, Elie Hanna and Sami Jajeh.