Whenever I go to
Moscow, I am astonished at the variety of icons one can buy. Ranging from big
antique ones at very high prices, to small copies (that only cost a few roubles)
to put in your wallet.
However commercial it may have become, the Russian people still have a strong believe in icons. It still occupies an important place in most Russian orthodox families. They have a special corner (the 'beautiful' corner), where the namesakes and patron saints are being worshipped. On special occasions candles are being lit and sometimes the icons are even decorated with a flower wreath. Visitors entering a house will always greet and pay their respect to the icons first, before greeting their hosts.
**I have seen for myself, inside the churches, how much the icons are still being worshipped. They get touched and kissed thousands of times and for some reason people seem to get some inner strength from doing just that. I have seen very poor old women, shivering with cold, hunger and/or sickness, shuffle slowly and painfully into the church, standing in line to get to an icon; then reaching out with a trembling hand, touching and kissing it; and turning away from it with a smile and a brighter light in their eyes.**
That makes you wonder: there must be more to an icon than just the beauty of the picture on the outside....
Most icons from my collection have been hand-painted, either on wood or on paper-mache, again in the same way and technique as the lacquer boxes., made exclusively for "De MiniLaars".
The icons that are not hand-painted, are originals that the Russians buy themselves in metro-stations, churches, etc. They put them on the dash-board of their car of give them to friends or family on special occasions. E.g. you have a friend in hospital; you go and buy her an icon of the saint that protects the sick.
Should you require an icon with a saint, other than the ones in the standard collection, these can be ordered and made especially for you at very little extra cost. Please contact me if you have a special request.
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