Crisis and Mosaics

   Since late childhood I have been cherishing mosaic art and dreaming of finding a way to practice it until I have met a Greek master mosaicist, Mrs. Magdalene Theocharis (visit in 2003, and since then she has been teaching me this art until today. As a monumental art comprising a cycle or cycles of correlated themes, mosaics have always had a very strong impact on me as a beholder, especially that they would carry me away to another world to live another reality by way of the themes represented. Another reason why I have chosed to practice this art is the fact that as a monk as well as a human being it helps me maintain balance between both my spiritual and physical faculties; one has to be sure that this balance is what brings happiness to mankind, and , unfortunately, educational institutions today fail to provide us with such balance and such happiness as a result of many severe shortcomings that have to be made up for otherwise we will continue to suffer from our chaotic state!

   Of course, as a Sinaite, not to mention that I have learned icon reading and icon writing, I live the Sinaitic heritage of icons and mosaics by meditating our great and exceptional collection almost everyday; therefore, I intend to interpret 12th – 14th centuries’ Sinaitic icons into mosaic works especially that such icons comprise the most important existing Byzantine masterpieces that cover a wide range of themes of the dogmatic, liturgical and festal cycles.

   Not only am I not embarrassed in the least to follow old mosaic masters and their tradition, but also I reckon it a great honour on my part to be their disciple, for it is impossible even to create a good modern mosaic without ever having learned and practiced ancient mosaic techniques and themes. Ancient mosaics for me have been and will always be contemporary, for they never lose their originality; in other words such mosaics are diachronic and eternal and can never become obsolete even if some people fail to appreciate them for whatever reason. If traditional and modern mosaics are both original then they can never contradict of annihilate each other. To realize the harmony between traditional and modern art one has to have inner harmony as a human being first of all.

   As regards modern art in general, I am very much into it as well although I do not agree with the “ideologies” it preaches, for these lack in harmony and balance like we do as nowadays chaotic “humanlike” shattered individuals. Byzantine art has been based on the idea of divine light emanating from the Kingdom of Heavens. Similar to this, impressionists based their art on the idea of light existing everywhere. Of course, we do not neglect or overlook the fact that physical light originates from the heavenly one in the first place. So both attitudes principally harmonize.

   As regards modern ecclesiastical art, I am sorry to say that it is mostly very poor in form and content as well due to the fact that most artists neither have originality nor they do live and work according to experience of Divine Light apart from their undermining the importance of learning from tradition for whatever reason. Fortunately, there are few dedicate original masters of this art, but the lack in proper education related to ecclesiastical art and its indispensible role and importance hinder people from comparing and contrasting between original and non original art according the correct divine order of the thematic cycles to which I have referred earlier. As there is an “ideological” crisis in modern art, modern ecclesiastical artists have willy-nilly adopted this crisis and “ideologically” have been trying to impose it on ecclesiastical reality, a matter which always ends up in a great failure later on, since Divine reality and logic conquer humane ones as much as we sincerely seek Truth and crave that it will open or clear our hypnotized eyes. So the role of modern ecclesiastical art is to contribute to experiencing Divine reality and logic properly according to God’s plan and revelation.

   Although I have been creating mosaics mainly for St. Catherine’s Monastery, it has always been a sweet dream for me to contribute to other places, especially to Russia, if sponsors are ever available. I aspire at giving mosaic its original functionality as an architectural art that consists of cycles of correlated themes which take the beholder from this temporary world into another one whether a fairy tale or an eternal realm.

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   Cell phone: 00201223254745.

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