Trinity Iconography Institute History

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).

From the Fall 2012 class until 2022, Father Jon Buffington, a Chaldean Catholic priest, was Instructor and 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.

Institute students with Bishop Michael Hanley displaying icons on Trinity Sunday.

Christopher Armstrong-Stevenson, founding Director guided the Iconography Institute for over two decades until his retirement in July 2019, when he passed the paintbrush to Christine Thum Schlesser, who directed the institute until late 2022.