Painting as Prayer

The Art of A. Sophrony Sakharov


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Can a connection be made between art and a personal experience of God? It is almost a century since Archimandrite Sophrony (then Sergei S. Sakharov) left Moscow, his hometown, where he had received his artistic education, in order to further his artistic formation in Italy, Berlin, and Paris. Art for him was a search for the Truth, the Absolute, and the Perfect. When this search brought him to discover the personal God, Christ, he abandoned painting in order to deepen this relationship in prayer on Mt Athos. Today Archimandrite Sophrony is recognised for his theological writings based on his ascetic monastic life, but his artistic endeavours are less known. Yet with time, he also discovered a way to express his personal relationship with God in visual form. This book presents a selection of his artwork in the various media he used: icon painting, murals, designs, and drawings.


Creativity, Freedom and the Icon

St Silouan’s Chapel
Panel Icons

Father Sophrony’s techniques
Notes on the illustrations

Sister Gabriela studied iconography on the recommendation of St Sophrony before joining the monastery. She later assisted him in several artistic projects during the last years of his life. Her books are about what she learned while working with him on icons, church murals, and mosaics.

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Painting as Prayer
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