Invitations for Conversation & Reflection

In Conversation with Symeon van Donkelaar

I welcome you to my conversation with Symeon van Donkelaar.

Several yeas ago I met the iconographer Symeon van Donkelaar. He had been traveling across Canada collecting samples of the earth from each region. It was part of a large project conceived in light of the United Nations declaration of 2008 as the International Year of Planet Earth. The exhibition that flowed from this work took each sample with its particular minerals and metals and, as artists have done since time immemorial, called forth their particular and unique colours and beauty.

In July, Symeon was invited by the Virgin Mary Anglican Church in Regina, Saskatchewan, to do a workshop on the writing of icons. We met in the church and discussed his “earth works”, his deep engagement of place and the spiritual meaning of the use of local colour born of the depth of the earth in his writing of icons. Symeon apprenticed with Fr. Nathaniel in a monastery in the United States and, over the last few years, has developed the Conestoga Iconographic Studio in Ontario.

I welcome you to our conversation on the meaning of icon and of place; on what is often described as the impurities in the soil, which Symeon sees as its distinctive personality, and, on the act of translating the Orthodox tradition through the soil of Canada. Do share your thoughts on this podcast and visit the website Conestoga Iconographic Studio at

18 July 2019
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