In December 2009, with the guidance of Abbot Gavril, the Byzantine Iconography School was founded at the monastery of St. Prohor Pchinski, Donnybrook, Australia, with the blessing of His Eminence, Archbishop Peter.

The School and the studio got their name from St. Theophilus of Strumica, who was a confessor for icons in his native Macedonia.

The students, from this studio, are introduced to the world of practice and theory of ancient Christian art from the Byzantine period based on the Macedonian Orthodox iconography schools model.

The study of this discipline is based not only on technical skills, but also on the connection between the hand, mind and heart. 

When these are joined together they run the personality of the artist over the technical skill that is required in most artistic fields.

This study crosses everything that is within the frame of the standard and initiates the birth of a new person in the artist and the beginning of principles that may have been long forgotten. The students go beyond the world of brush and colors into the world of spirituality, studying the discipline and the symbolism of this sacred art to create their work in this studio.

Only natural materials are used when creating Holy Icons: wooden boards covered with linen and natural gesso, 24 carat gold leaf is applied on a bole, egg tempera technique, earth pigments etc…

In this studio, the students follow the method of the Ohrid Orthodox School of iconography, which is very distinctive and unique. 

To reach that level of craftsmanship, it requires great concentration, studying the hagiography of the saints while saying the Jesus Prayer. Even though the aim of the school is to achieve the high artistic skill of the old masters, the work of the students reflect their level of concentration and personal discipline, particularly their spiritual growth. In this studio, we believe that the artist (iconographer) does not change the icon, but the icon changes the artist.

Today, the Iconography School has transformed into an Iconography Studio, where orthodox icons are drawn while constantly repeating the Jesus Prayer.

So far, we’ve had two very successful public presentations of Byzantine iconography techniques. The first one was a part of the Cultural Heritage Program at the City of Whittlesea in Thomastown Library. The second presentation was held at Victoria University in front of students from around the world, who studied about conservation of old masters work. In addition, we’ve had a few single exhibitions in Melbourne and some joined presentations with other artists from different branches.