Pax Christi International Icon of Reconciliation
The idea of an icon dedicated to Pax Christi International arose in the context of the movement’s programme in the Middle East in 1999: the International Assembly held in Amman and Jerusalem, and a series of visits to Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and Palestine.
The icon depicts Christ as the source of reconciliation, the source of liberation and peace. It is an icon symbolising in itself the living connection between Eastern and Western traditions in expressing the peace of Christ.
Icons occupy a central and vital position in the religious life of Byzantine Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic. In the oriental Christian tradition an icon is a visible image of the Divine. The iconographer is instrumental in realising the spiritual process. The writing of the icon is a process which includes prayer and fasting. It requires a knowledge of the Church’s long tradition of iconography, of the codes of canon law of both East and West, and a familiarity with the tradition and teaching of the Ecumenical Councils.
Since an icon is no ordinary work of art, these gave specific guidance and instructions about the creation of such holy objects. Following the way in which God created the world - from darkness in the beginning to light at the end – an icon is written from the darkest parts to the lightest ones. When an icon has been completed a window to heaven is revealed.
The icon for Pax Christi International, made in the monastery of St John in the Desert, near Jerusalem, was dedicated to the movement on 1 July 1999 in the holy city of Jerusalem. At present it is displayed at the International Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium. Member Organisations can request to lend the Icon and organise displays in their own local communities .
The upper part of the icon shows the reconciliation of Jacob and Esau, surrounded by St Clare and St Francis of Assisi, by St Mary Magdalene, Saints Boris and Gleb (two Russian brother princes), by St Sophia and her three daughters, Faith, Hope and Love, and by St Stephen, the first martyr.
The lower part of the icon depicts some other themes from Scripture: Sarah and Isaac (Gen. 21:12), Hagar and Ishmael (Gen. 21:13), the Samaritan woman and Jesus (John 4: 5-26), the Syrophoenician woman and Jesus (Mark 7:24-30), Jerusalem in heaven (Joel 4:16-17), and the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:2-4).