Sunday, November 29, 2015
Saint Edmund Underdrawing
One of the commissioned icons, Saint Edmund was undoubtedly an icon I would never have done on my own. I would never have even known who Saint Edmund was if not for the person who commissioned it. She and I are long-time friends and keep in touch with each other on Facebook. So one day I noticed that she was pining over an icon of Saint Edmund that she wanted for her son. I told her I could just do the icon for her so she could have a hand-made copy of it. And so here we are.
My friend had told me that she wanted the icon as close to an exact duplicate as I could manage, which I've done, more or less. It's going to be a challenging icon to inscribe and paint and that's got me excited. Fortunately I'm writing the icon of a saint known for his endurance and hope, so there's that going for me.
Saint Edmund has a number of legends around him, but the one that seems most popular is that he was the king of East Anglia, a pre-Norman kingdom in England. Once the Normans came in and conquered everything (including East Anglia) they commanded King Edmund to renounce his Christian faith if he wanted to live. Saint Edmund refused. This man, who had just lost everything to the Normans refused to give up his Christian faith. His kingdom was demolished, a lot of his people were dead on his watch, and Saint Edmund refused to despair of salvation even still. That's courage, people! That is what we should be going for. The Normans then shot him full of arrows and, when that didn't kill him, cut off his head and threw it away. Christians looking for his body heard a wolf howling "Here! Here!" and found the wolf was cradling Saint Edmund's head. The wolf let them take it away for honorable burial. Even in death God watches out for His own.
God determines His own by seeing what and who they embrace when they've lost everything. The tests that come reveal to the self where they are actually at and what they need to work on. Some of us, though, pass the test and God takes us Home. Saint Edmund was one of those holy ones.