Monday, April 18, 2011

Totally Texas on Mondays -- Art and soul

Vladimir Grygorenko’s murals and icons
St. Seraphim Cathedral,
4208 Wycliff Ave., Dallas
I’ve seen the insides of so many churches in this country, Mexico and Europe, it sometimes feels like one of those, if it’s Tuesday this must be the Sistine Chapel tours.  But I’m convinced the only true way to view religious art is to honor its place, not just as a thing of beauty, but as objects with a living role in worship.  So when I first read about the artworks at this gem of an Orthodox cathedral I knew I'd need to see them in the course of a service, even if it meant skipping a Sunday at my home church.  Because the murals and icons Ukrainian-born artist Vladimir Grygorenko lavished on St. Seraphim’s are not just beautiful objects but actors in the ancient Orthodox liturgy.

Grygorenko began painting during college and although, in his words, from a non-religious family, eventually turned from secular to religious art in a quest for deeper beauty.  Initially self-taught in Russian-style iconography, he now lectures on the topic as well as completing commissions for churches and private clients.  St. Seraphim’s invited him to come to Dallas in 2000 to decorate the interior of the newly-built cathedral.  He became a U.S. citizen in 2010.

This blog format offers only the barest taste of Grygorenko’s work, but beyond linking to his website, consider witnessing them yourselves in their three-dimensional setting.  Like many churches, St. Seraphim’s has additional morning and evening services during Holy Week from now until Easter, with the complete schedule at 

(The photograph of the St. Seraphim iconostasis is from Grygorenko's website.  He holds the copyright.  Please contact him at if you want permission to reproduce it.)

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