Images of Pentecost Which Are Saturated With the Spirit

The featured image is by Liane Collot dHerbois

Arcabas- Catholic Artist

When the Holy Spirit inspires artists to create art with, through and in Him, their creations touch our inner selves. They are not only beautiful but also imbued with a mystical essence which gives them spiritual power.

ladislav záborský- Pentecost


Especially when light shines through stained glass windows, art can lift our souls up from our own narrow miserable awareness into His presence as we contemplate them. Light is more powerful than darkness and beautiful colourful glass works of art can touch us with a mystical, heavenly light that moves our hearts and souls towards God. No wonder stained glass windows were developed in the Middle Ages as a way of teaching illiterate parishioners the basic Christian message and inspiring them to live holy, prayerful lives.

Mary and the apostles in the upper room
Gorgeous stained glass windows at Saints Anne & Joachim Catholic Church, Fargo, North Dakota

Icon painters fast and pray as they paint, layering colours one on top of the other. This technique gives the icon a unique richness and depth. The effect of this technique is most obvious in the eyes which do not seem flat but rather realistic with depth and soul. The icons themselves have absorbed the Holy Spirit and really are holy. They radiate the power of God and wordlessly, draw us into His heart, just like a sacramental.

Orthodox Prayer Card Holy Pentecost
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    Veni Sancte Spiritus


connecting with theology is a verb and reconciled to you


Father Marko Ivan Rupnik
Juan de las Roelas, The Pentecost, late 16th century


5 thoughts on “Images of Pentecost Which Are Saturated With the Spirit

  1. As an iconographer I have made some tiny modifications to the Pentecost icon. I have replaced Kosmos with our planet Earth. Scientific discoveries, modern concepts and contemporary language all change how humanity sees itself with new perspectives. Mary the mother of Jesus, placed at the very center of the icon with six disciples on either side. Her gradual disappearance at the center of earlier Pentecost icons was perhaps another example of relegating the power of women or maybe they found no theological need to include her, even though she is mentioned as being present in the Biblical text.

    Of course most women imagine we were at the Baptism of Christ, in the river Jordan, at the Last Supper and Pentecost, even if we were not represented in the theology, image or text. We are taught to believe the Holy Spirit was poured out onto all people and all of creation. We are the descendants who participate and experience that divine power given to both male and female. In this icon, I have eliminated two of the disciples and the four “special” disciples, the ones in their priestly stoles typically adorned with giant crosses and holding their gospel books. I have substituted them for six women. If we are to learn how to be one body and one mind in God, being “special” prevents us from being whole and perpetuates a struggle to find out who is best, better or right. The question remains, can we be singled out for extreme wisdom or heroic acts without diminishing anyone else along the way? By God’s grace, we can if we learn differently. Icons depict examples of exceptional people who love, champions of faith who are remembered and whose earthly lives are considered instructive and worthy of imitation. Salome, Bartholome, Andrew, Luke, Mother Teresa, Mary Madgelene, Paul, Tabitha, Mark, Susana, James, and Martha sit together in harmony. The Saint or recognizable person is not the point of the icon. Rather it illustrates our sitting together, in relationship, in peace and receiving the Holy Spirit

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