Palestinian students begin work to create new icons at Lichfield Cathedral

Palestinian artists have visited the city to help create three new icons for Lichfield Cathedral.

The Bethlehem Icon School students will create the new pieces which will go on display in the Nave.

Ian Knowles, director of the school, has brought the three students to work on the icons – which will include the Archangel Gabriel and Mary – this summer.

Ian Knowles with the students from Palestine in Lichfield

Ian Knowles with the students from Palestine in Lichfield

Visitors to the cathedral can see the artists at work, as they write the Icons from 2pm to 4.30pm daily in their studios in the Old Stables in Cathedral Close.

The Very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield, said: “This is a really exciting and creative project.

“The Bethlehem Icon School is training young Palestinian artists in a form of Christian art that first began in the Holy Land. Recently their training has been accredited by the Prince of Wales’ School of Traditional Arts and Skills.

“Our commission benefits the Bethlehem Centre by providing an important UK venue for its work but it links us in Lichfield with an unbroken form of Christian art that speaks engagingly and beautifully of the Christian Story.

“As a place of pilgrimage and worship, I believe these icons will help all our cathedral visitors to pray and get a glimpse of God’s generous love – his invitation to align our lives with his.

“We also hope that by having the staff and students in Lichfield for the whole summer, local people can get to hear of the struggles people in Bethlehem face but also learn much from the students’ faith and resilience.”

The cathedral will also be hosting talks which will allow visitors to gain a better understanding of iconography, and of Christian culture and identity in the Middle East.

Students from Palestine will return next year to complete a third Icon, encapsulating the Crucifixion and Transfiguration of Christ.

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