Rules and Prayer for Iconographers:
The purpose of the Iconographer is through his images attempt to evoke a prayerful ambience and connection between the icon and the observer. While the general attitude of the image is serious, it also must contain a sense of hope and consolation. Icons unmasterfully but piously painted can achieve the same result, despite a technical awkwardness inherent in amateur work, but it is our opinion that an icon masterfully executed can make the image interesting or compelling to both the uninitiated and initiated eye.
- Before starting work, make the sign of the Cross; pray in silence and pardon your enemies.
- Work with care on every detail of your icon, as if you were working in front of the Lord Himself.
- During work, pray in order to strengthen yourself physically and spiritually; avoid all useless words, and keep silence.
- Pray in particular to the Saint whose face you are painting. Keep your mind from distractions, and the Saint will be close to you.
- When you choose a colour, stretch out your hands interiorly to the Lord and ask His Counsel.
- Do not be jealous of your neighbour’s work; his/her success is your success too.
- When your icon is finished, thank God that His Mercy granted you the grace to paint the Holy Images.
- Have your icon blessed by putting it on the Holy Table of your parish church. Be the first to pray before it, before giving it to others.
- Never forget:
- the joy of spreading icons throughout the world.
- the joy of the work of icon writing.
- the joy of giving the Saint the possibility to shine through his/her icon.
- the joy of being in union with the Saint whose face you are revealing.
A Prayer from Mt. Athos for Consecrating an Iconographer:
Thou Who hast so admirably imprinted Thy features on the cloth sent to King Abgar of Edessa, and hast so wonderfully inspired Luke Thy Evangelist: Enlighten my soul and that of Thy servant; Guide his hand that he may reproduce Thy features, those of the Holy Virgin and of all Thy saints, for the glory and peace of Thy Holy Church. Spare him from temptations and diabolical imaginations in the name of Thy Mother, St. Luke, and all the Saints. Amen.
A Prayer Before Beginning an Icon:
O DIVINE LORD of all that exists, Thou hast illumined the Apostle and Evangelist Luke with Thy Holy Spirit, thereby enabling him to represent Thy most Holy Mother, the One who held Thee in her arms and said: The Grace of Him Who has been born of me is spread through the world!
Enlighten and direct my soul, my heart and my spirit. Guide the hands of Thine unworthy servant so that I may worthily and perfectly portray Thine Icon, that of Thy Mother, and all the Saints, for the glory, joy and adornment of Thy Holy Church.
Forgive my sins and the sins of those who will venerate these icons and who, kneeling devoutly before them, give homage to those they represent.
Protect them from all evil and instruct them with good counsel. This I ask through the intercession of Thy most Holy Mother, the Apostle Luke, and all the Saints. Amen.
A Prayer After Completing an Icon:
Thou, Thyself, O LORD, art the fulfillment and completion of all good things. Fill my soul with joy and gladness, for Thou alone art the Lover of mankind.
Let Thy grace sanctify and dwell within this icon, that it may edify and inspire those who gaze upon it and venerate it; that in glorifying the one depicted, they may be repentant of their sins and strengthened against every attack of the adversary.
Through the prayers of the Theotokos, the holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke, and all the Saints, O Savior, save us!