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2015 Icon Calendar, Icons of the Virgin Mary

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  • Sample page showing calendar boxes.
  • JANUARY—Kykkos Mother of God; icon by the hand of Deacon Matthew Garrett. 
The name of this icon comes from Mount Kykkos on Cyprus. The holy icon which, according to tradition, was painted by the Apostle Luke was sent by him to the Egyptian Christians. In Egypt, however, disturbances broke out and, in order to save the icon, it was moved to a secluded island. On the way there it was seized, but later recaptured and sent to the imperial palace in Constantinople. In the reign of Emperor Alexius Comnenus (1081–1118), the icon was moved to Cyprus. There exist numerous legends associated with this event, which recount countless cures of members of the imperial family and common people. This miracle-working icon has one interesting feature: no one can see its original, for it is kept under a coverlet. In the 17th century, copies of this icon appeared in Russia. The icon’s feast day is celebrated on November 12.
  • FEBRUARY—Sweet Kissing Mother of God; icon by the hand of Heather Sommer.
This popular style of icon is known variously as “Sweet Kissing” or “Lovingkindness,” or in Greek as Glykophilousa. Glykophilousa could be literally translated as “She who embraces gently.” While in several other styles of icons the Virgin is depicted simply accepting the signs of affection demonstrated by her child while her face or eyes are looking elesewhere, in Sweet Kissing icons the Virgin Mother caresses her Child.
  • MARCH—The Annunciation; icon by the hand of Elias Katsaros.
This icon depicts the moment described in Luke 1:28 when the angel Gabriel appears to Mary and announces the role she is to play in the birth of our Savior. The feast of the Annunciation is celebrated on March 25. The icon is installed at St. Nicholas Chapel (Holy Trinity–Holy Cross Cathedral), in Birmingham, Alabama.
  • APRIL—Epitaphios; icon by the hand of Matthew Garrett.
The Greek word Epitaphios can be translated “upon the tomb,” and this icon depicts Christ after He has been removed from the cross, as His body is being prepared for burial. The scene is taken from the Gospel of St. John (John 19:38–42). Shown around Him, and mourning His death, are His mother, John the beloved disciple, Joseph of Arimathea, and some of the myrrhbearing women. Today most Orthodox churches have Epitaphion icons in the form of large embroidered cloths that are used during processions on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. In 2015, Holy Friday is celebrated on April 10.
  • MAY—The Life-Giving Spring; icon by the hand of Diane Plaskon Koory.
In fifth-century Constantinople a soldier named Leo Marcellus (who later became Byzantine Emperor Leo I) saw a vision in which the  Mother of God revealed to him the location of a sacred spring. Leo later built the historic Church of St. Mary of the Spring over this site, which became a place of numerous miraculous healings over the centuries.The term “Life-giving Spring” (in Greek, Zoodochos Pigi) became an epithet of the Holy Theotokos, and she was represented as such in iconography. The feast day of the Life-giving Spring is celebrated on Bright Friday; additionally, the icon of the Theotokos the Life-giving Spring is commemorated on April 4.
  • JUNE—Our Lady of the Sign; icon by the hand of Janet Jaime.
In this particular type of icon of the Virgin Mary she is depicted facing the viewer directly, with her hands raised in a position of prayer, and with an image of her Child within a round aureole upon her breast. The icon represents the Theotokos during the Annunciation at the moment of saying, “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Though the image of the child represents Christ at the moment of His conception in the womb of the Virgin, He is depicted not as a fetus, but rather vested in divine robes and holding a scroll, symbolic of His role as teacher. His right hand is raised in blessing. His face is that of a man, indicating the Christian teaching that He was at one and the same time both a fully human infant and fully the eternal God, one of the Trinity. This type of icon is also sometimes called “More Spacious” (in Greek, Platytera), for by containing the Creator of the universe in her womb, Mary has become “More spacious than the heavens.”
  • JULY—Joy of All Who Sorrow; icon by the hand of Ann Margitich.
This icon depicts the Theotokos standing with her hands raised in intercession, her head tilted as if listening. The tenderness and kindness of a loving mother are evident in her face. Along both sides of the icon are suppliants (representing all of us), asking for her intercession. She is our loving mother, bringing our pain into her Son’s presence. She is our joy, because in her love she hears us and through her unceasing intercession and her limitless love helps heal our sorrows. Her Son, the King of heaven and earth, is visible above her in the cloud. There are several feast days associated with this icon.
  • AUGUST—Gift to the Apostle Thomas of the Cincture of the Honorable Mother of God; icon by the hand of Janet Jaime.
This icon is based on an ancient prototype which is rarely seen. While the Apostle Thomas was enlightening the lands of India with the preaching of the Gospel, the repose of the Virgin Mary took place. All the other apostles were gathered at the bier of the Virgin in Gethsemane, but the holy Apostle Thomas did not manage to arrive in time for the day of the burial of her body. On the third day after the burial, he was caught up in a cloud and miraculously transported to a place in the air above the tomb of the Virgin. From that vantage point, he beheld the translation of her body into the heavens and cried out to her, “Where are you going, O all-Holy one?” And removing her cincture, she gave it to Thomas, saying: “Receive this, my friend.” Thomas then descended to earth and found the other disciples keeping watch over her sepulcher. Saddened that he had not been there when she reposed, he said to the other apostles, “We are all disciples of the Master. How, then, is it that you were counted worthy to behold the repose of His Mother and I was not? . . . I beseech you, my fellow disciples: open the tomb, that I also may look upon her remains, and embrace them, and bid her farewell!” The disciples then opened the tomb, but they discovered that her remains had vanished. This incident was permitted by the will of God, that the faithful might be assured that the Mother of God was bodily assumed into heaven. For just as they were more greatly assured of the Resurrection of Christ through the disbelief of Thomas, so too did they learn of His mother’s bodily assumption into heaven through the delay of Thomas. The feast of the Deposition of the Cincture is celebrated on August 31. This icon is installed at St. George Church in Kearney, Nebraska.
  • SEPTEMBER—Our Lady of Pochaev; icon by the hand of Michael Kapeluck. 
The prototype for this icon was kept in a monastery on Pochaev Mountain for 300 years. In 1340, the Virgin Mary appeared in a pillar of fire at the top of the mountain, after which an impression of her foot, filled with clear water, was left in the rock. In 1848, this miracle-working icon saved the people of Kiev from cholera. Dating from that period, one of the common versions of this icon is popularly known as the “footprint” icon, because the Mother of God’s footprint is depicted in the rock. Feast days for this icon are celebrated on July 23, September 8, and Bright Friday.
  • OCTOBER— Donskaya Mother of God; icon by the hand of Dmitry Shkolnik.
This icon is a reproduction of a famous icon painted by Theophanes the Greek in the 14th century. Donskaya is Russian for “of the Don.” According to tradition, this icon was brought by the Cossacks of the Don to Prince Dmitri Ivanovich before the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380 to help the Prince defeat the Tartars in the decisive battle that began to free the Russian land from Tartar subjugation and invasions. The feast day for this icon is celebrated on August 19.
  • NOVEMBER­—The Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple; icon by the hand of Athanasios Tom Clark.
 In this icon, Saints Joachim and Anna are seen bringing Mary as a well-pleasing sacrifice to the Temple gates, accompanied by virgins of Jerusalem carrying torches in procession. The priest Zacharias, receiving the Virgin at the gates of the Temple, prophesies that the Virgin Mary is the New Ark of the Covenant. Notice that the young virgins do not have their heads covered but that the Theotokos has her head covered. Also the garments of Mary resemble those of Saint Anna and not of the young virgins.  The Theotokos, although a child, is already a perfected woman who has reached full spiritual maturity.  She who in body is but three years old, and yet in the spirit is full of years, ascends to the Holy of Holies, where she is cared for by an angel. The feast of the Entry of the Theotokos is celebrated on November 21.
  • DECEMBER—The Nativity of Our Lord; icon by the hand of Athanasios Tom Clark. 
This traditionally styled icon of the Nativity of our Lord depicts the Creator of the universe entering history as a newborn babe. In the center of the icon are Mary resting in a cave and Jesus as a baby in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. To Christ’s left, animals watch Him in silent wonder. At the left. Magi bring their gifts. Above, the sky salutes Him with a star. To the right, a shepherd stands watching. The women on the bottom right are midwives, indicating that Jesus was born as a regular human baby, in need of washing. The Righteous Joseph is depicted off to the bottom left, away from Jesus and Mary, because, although he served as their protector, he was not directly involved in the miracle of the Incarnation of the Son of God. The old man speaking to him represents the devil bringing doubts to Joseph, suggesting that if the infant were truly divine He would not have been born in the human way. The feast of the Nativity of Our Lord is celebrated on December 25.
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Order No. 008905

Our 2015 icon calendar features icons of the Virgin Mary from many different contemporary American iconographers.

11" X 12" full-color calendar features large calendar boxes (1-3/8" X 1-3/4") for recording your important date reminders.

Major saints and feast days traditionally celebrated in Orthodox countries around the world are listed.


Note: this calendar uses dates according to the new calendar. For a Julian calendar edition, see Order No. 008906.


About the iconographers featured in this calendar

Heather Sommer—Khouria Heather’s desire is that the icons she paints inspire the viewer to prayer and bring glory to God. The Sommer family lives in Snohomish, Washington, where her husband, Fr. David Sommer, serves Saint Thomas Antiochian Orthodox Mission. She primarily paints murals for parishes thoughout the USA and Canada. Contact Information: E-mail: dhjnesommer@yahoo.com; Blog: heathersommericons.blogspot.com; Studio location: Snohomish, Washington

Michael KapeluckMichael was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and is a lifelong communicant of Saints Peter & Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Carnegie, PA. Michael started his art training early in life, being chosen to attend formal art classes at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh at the age of nine. He studied in this program for six years, at which point he graduated to the pre-college course of instruction at Carnegie Mellon University, where he spent three years. Upon graduation from high school he decided to continue his studies in art at Carnegie Mellon, where he was accepted into the College of Fine Arts. After four years of study Michael graduated with high honors and a Bachelor of Fine Art. After several years of showing in area art galleries, Michael felt that the Holy Spirit was moving him to give up the world of secular art to devote his life to the study and creation of the sacred art of iconography. He has been blessed since that time to paint for many churches and individuals and continues to enjoy the challenge of pushing his skills to greater levels. Michael now lives, paints, and worships in his home town of Carnegie, where he enjoys life with his wife Michele and their two children, Zachary and Mikaela. Contact Information: Email: kapeluck@verizon.net; Website: www.archangelicons.com; Studio: Archangel Studios, Carnegie, PA; Phone: 412-527-5359

Diane Plaskon Koory—Diane was born in Detroit, Michigan. She comes from a Slavic, Carpatho-Russian background. She was baptized and received chrismation in her family’s Greek-rite Catholic Church and was raised in and attended the Roman Catholic Church. In 1971, Diane received chrismation in the Antiochian Othodox Church, the Church of her husband’s family, and since that time has embraced the Orthodox faith as her own. She has a BA and MA in Education from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, and a BFA cum laude from the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit. Diane’s interest in iconography began with her fascination with the differences between icons and Christian art. She has taken several classes with Philip Zimmerman, at St. John Art Academy in Pennsylvania. She has also taken classes from the Prosopon School of Iconology and Xenia Pokrovsky. Diane has traveled extensively to study traditional icons from other countries. She has given many lectures on icons, Christian art, and the history of icons to many Orthodox and non-Orthodox churches. In addition to writing individual icons, she has many icons in churches throughout the U.S. as well as at the Midwest Chancery of the Antiochian Church. Contact Information: E-mail: rdkoory@yahoo.com; Studio: St. George Church, Troy, MI; Phone: 248-396-0362

Deacon Matthew GarrettDeacon Matthew grew up in the Orthodox Faith, where he developed a great appreciation for icons. His father arranged for him to spend the summer of 1991 working for Philip Zimmerman at the St. John of Damascus Icon Studio. He grew enamored with the process of painting icons and spent the next several years reading about icons, looking for interesting prototypes to paint, working at the studio, and painting at home. Since graduating from St. Vincent College, he has continued to grow as an artist and to develop his own style. His work ranges from larger-than-life-size murals to postage stamp-size icons. For many years he was a member of St. Michael’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Greensburg, PA. In 2009, he married and moved to Boise, Idaho. He was ordained as a deacon in 2011, where he serves at St. Seraphim of Sarov Russian Orthodox Church in Boise, in addition to his continuing work as an iconographer. Deacon Matthew has exhibited his work and given lectures on iconography at festivals, churches, and conferences, and his work can be seen in many churches, especially in the northeast U.S. Contact Information: Email: matthew@holy-icons.com; Website: www.holy-icons.com; Studio Location: Boise, Idaho; Phone: 208-859-9698.

Elias KatsarosElias was born of Greek parentage in Constantinople in 1945. Upon arriving in Athens, Greece, at the age of nineteen, he attended the Art Institute of Athens. He spent five years under the direct tutelage of the artist and iconographer George Patriarchia. During this time he was taught the basis of Byzantine technique, which would influence his painting of icons in the future. After arriving in America in 1969, Mr. Katsaros continued his studies in Byzantine iconography while studying and working in New York City with Father John Spilio for two years. Both of his teachers were direct students of the great Byzantine iconographer Photios Kontoglou. Mr. Katsaros has been living in the United States since 1969. He has made Huntsville, Alabama, his home, where he has established his studio with his wife Elaine. He keeps to the strict Byzantine tradition of iconography and works in the sixteenth-century Cretan style. He specializes in murals, portable icons, and interior designs of churches. His work can be found in churches all across the United States. Contact Information: Email: elkats@comcast.net; Website: www.byzantine-iconography.com; Studio Location: Huntsville, Alabama; Phone: 256-837-6152.

Dmitry Shkolnik—Dmitry was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1960. While studying in high school, he developed a keen interest in Russian religious art. Upon graduation, he pursued higher education in the field of architecture. Concurrently, he cultivated a knowledge of Russian craft art in the form of lacquer miniatures and icon restoration. In 1979–80, Dmitry began to work for the Russian Patriarchal Workshops (now known as SOFRINO). In 1981 he immigrated to the United States with his family. He enrolled in the Theological Seminary at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, in 1983. In his time there, he apprenticed under the well-known iconographer Archimandrite Ciprian (Pyzhov). In 1988 Dmitry completed seminary with a Bachelor in Theology. In his over 30 years in the United States, Dmitry has written over 2,000 icons, completed over two dozen iconostases, and painted numerous church frescoes, murals, and wall ornamentations. He is an active member of the International Union of Artists and has collaborated with some of the most noted Russian and American iconographers. You can see his work in churches and private collections all over the United States, Canada, Central and South America, France, Australia, Japan, Russia, Greece, and many other countries. Dmitry Shkolnik lives in San Carlos, California, with his wife and children. Contact Information: E-mail: shkolnikstudio@hotmail.com; Website: www.shkolnikstudio.com; Studio Location: San Carlos, California.

Janet Jaime—Janet is a communicant of St. Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and began writing icons in 1995, working in the traditional egg tempera technique. She is a full-time certified iconographer and also serves as co-chair on the DOWAMA Committee of Sacred Arts. She has been blessed with writing icons for homes and many churches, including St. Peter, Madison, MS; St. Andrew, Riverside, CA; St. Antony, Tulsa, OK; St. George, Cedar Rapids, IA; and St. George, Kearney, NE. Contact Information: Email: eleousa@cox.net; Studio Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Ann Margitich—Ann received her BFA degree in painting from the University of New Hampshire. Her studies in icon painting include two years of independent study at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, instruction from Fr. Andrew Tregubov, Helena Nikkanen, and Leonid Ouspensky. She is married to Fr. Lawrence Margitich, who serves the parish of St. Seraphim of Sarov in Santa Rosa, California. Her work can be viewed at flickr.com/photos/amargitich as well as through the New World Byzantine Studios website. Contact Information: Email: e.a.margitich@sbcglobal.net; Website:nwbstudios.com/iconography/ann-margitich.html; Studio Location: Santa Rosa, California.

Tom Clark—Originally from Chicago and of Greek descent, Tom (Athanasios) studied iconography for five years starting in 1984 in Thessaloniki, Greece, under master iconographer Kostas Tsilsavides. His icons are found in churches and homes both in the U.S. and abroad. Tom and his wife Sophia currently live in Athens, Greece, and are the parents of five sons. Contact Information: Email: tom@tomclarkicons.com; Website:tomclarkicons.com; Studio Location: Athens, Greece.


About the Calendar Dates

The feast days shown on this calendar in bold, blue type are the twelve great feast days of the Orthodox Church. Other feast days of some of the most popularly venerated saints of the Orthodox Churches around the world are listed in black, regular type. Dates for the feast days are listed according to the Julian or “old” calendar. Moveable feasts with their dates tied to the date of Pascha are celebrated on the same day by churches that follow either the old calendar or the new calendar. The liturgical date for feasts is shown in smaller blue type below the large calendar date. The date for Pascha (commonly known as Easter in the West) falls on April 12 in 2015. (The date for Easter in the Western churches falls on April 5 in 2015; only occasionally does the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ occur on the same date in East and West.) Many days throughout the Orthodox church year are designated as fast days (on which we refrain from eating meat products, milk products, fish, wine, and oil). These fast days, marked in red type, include the four canonical fasting seasons (Great Lent, the Apostles’ fast, the Dormition fast, and the Advent fast), as well as almost every Wednesday and Friday. When a major feast falls during a fasting season, fish, wine & oil are allowed. In addition, there are also several fast-free weeks and other special fast days. Because fast day designations vary slightly from church to church, consult your local parish for further details.

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