The Trinity Iconography Institute at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland, Oregon, was created in 1995, as an ongoing activity to train individuals of any Christian denomination, who are interested in iconography. Students agree to commit to the practice, Canons and Rubrics of iconography according to the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church. The Institute’s work is recognized by Trinity as an integral component of the Cathedral’s Spiritual Formation program. Trinity Iconography Institute is also acknowledged as a Diocesan resource, recognized by our Bishop.
The Institute’s founding Instructor was Thomas Howard, from St. Helens, Oregon, who was then followed by several itinerant instructors. From 1999 until the Fall of 2012, the Institute’s Instructor was Master Iconographer Sherry V. Lynch who lives in La Center, Washington. Many will remember the large amount of work written by Sherry under her former name of Bettendorf. Sherry trained in Turkey and was acknowledged as an iconographer by His All Holiness Athenagoras I, the then Patriarch of Byzantium/Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey).
Beginning with the Fall 2012 class we welcomed Father Jon Buffington, a Chaldean Catholic priest, as our new Instructor. At the end of the Summer 2013 class, Fr. Jon was designated Trinity Iconography Institute’s new Master Iconographer. Fr. Jon’s icons are present in many parish churches and Roman Catholic Archdiocesan establishments in Oregon, several other states and in the Patriarchate of Byzantium.
In 2010, the Institute was honored for its work in helping to bring icons back into use by Western Churches, through an invitation to a private audience and Blessing with His All Holiness, Bartholomew I, the current reigning Patriarch of Byzantium.
Classes are scheduled in Spring and Fall of each year and run for 12 weeks, meeting on Monday evenings from 6:30-9:00 pm. In addition, two Summer, one-week-long classes are scheduled – beginning daily at 8:30 am and running until 4:30 pm (with a lunch break) Monday-Friday. All classes are taught using the egg-tempera medium. We also use pigments purchased and imported from the same pigment vendor in Florence, Italy, who supplied pigments and art materials to the great artists Michelangelo, Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, and many others.
The Summer classes have proven extremely popular and were added to accommodate people from around the Oregon Diocese and the many students who come from out-of-state, for whom 12-week evening classes are impracticable. Many clergy have taken a Summer class in partial fulfillment of their Continuing Education requirements.
The second of the two classes is restricted to those “Advanced” students, who have already completed a basic class, at Trinity or anywhere else, using the egg-tempera medium. The “Advanced” class concentrates on the more complex aspects of iconography.
Each student can expect to complete a small icon following the prototype provided by the instructor.
Class fees are modest and cover the cost of retaining the instructor. A small supplies and administration fee is also charged.
Christopher J. Armstrong-Stevenson, Director,
Trinity Iconography Institute
c/o Trinity Episcopal Cathedral,
147 NW 19th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97209.
(Home phone 503-366-0829)