This is a lovely book that hopes to "become a bridge between East and West" through the selection and presentation of thirty icons depicting the life of Christ that have been taken from among the one hundred and thirty icons found in the Cathedral Church of Mary of the Assumption in Tiblisi, Georgia, in Eastern Europe. The icons decorate the church walls and tell the major stories of the Gospels. The richness of the icons, together with Francis Maloney’s insightful commentary on the icons themselves and the Scriptures that they depict, invites the reader to embark on an artistically rich spiritual journey. Maloney, a recognized biblical scholar, has included in his reflections passages from the early church writers specially selected to enhance the experience of gazing on these extraordinary icons.
The helpful introduction Maloney provides makes the reader aware of the power of iconography and its use in the East while pointing to its value for Western readers. One of the significant gifts of this text is the opportunity to view these incredible icons. They are reproduced beautifully in deep and lustrous colors. Alone, they would serve the purpose of presenting the story of Jesus’ life, but in concert with the reflections they immerse the reader into a type of retreat experience that leads to deep contemplation and prayer. This reflection and prayer may in turn enable us to attain a deeper understanding of God’s call to see beyond the limited world view that often hampers our growth in faith, to a vision of the world as God sees and loves it, a world of unity and peace.
This book is an artistic treasure that achieves its purpose in sharing the wealth of these charming icons and prayerful reflections with the universal Church, East and West.