St John of the Ladder Orthodox Church

Hi Friends,

My family has moved to Greenville, South Carolina! I will be working on wall iconography for the St John of the Ladder parish. The project will take a number of years. I will post updates periodically on the Orthodox Arts Journal as well as on my website.

My first project here was a large icon of St John for the exterior of the building. There was a space designed for this icon above the doorway. St John is greeting us and inviting us in. His scroll represents his famous book, the Ladder of Divine Ascent. The ladder on his scroll also corresponds to the stairway leading up into the building.

St John, often called “Climacus,” was abbot of the monastery of St Catherine on Mt Sinai in the 6th century. He is commemorated on the fourth Sunday of Great Lent, and on March 30th. His book is one of the most important texts on the spiritual life, especially in the monastic context.

Installing the icon.

Special thanks to Chris Winn, Dmitri Mamontov, and Charlie Durham for helping to install the icon. We carried it up in a boom lift and fit it into the frame above the doorway.

I painted the icon in silicate paints, which can endure exposure to the weather year round, without fading or deteriorating. It should last hundreds of years. I prepared a piece of high-grade cementitious board with a thick coat of plaster, and used a pure potassium silicate binder, the oldest form of this paint.

The icon in place.

Keep an eye out for updates on the wall paintings as this project unfolds!