The Diocese is pleased to announce that one of its faithful, Thekla Alana Abriam, has won the Third Prize in the international iconography competition hosted by the Holy Synod of Bishops, to compose a special icon commemorating the centenary of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, which will be celebrated next year in 2020.

As announced previously on the web sites of the Synod and this Diocese, the Synod sponsored the contest in order to provide iconographers from around the world — both known and unknown, experienced and more neophyte — the opportunity to produce concepts for a special commemorative icon embracing the last hundred years of the life of the Church Abroad. Entries were submitted directly to the Synod, and during its recent winter meeting at the Synodal Headquarters in New York, the members of the Holy Synod judged the entries and selected first, second and third prizes from amongst the great number of submissions received.

Judging was done anonymously, with the identities of submitters unknown to the Hierarchs as they examined each entry carefully over several days before casting their votes. Only after the competition was complete did it become known that no fewer than three entries had been submitted by both lay- and clergy-iconographers of the Diocese of Great Britain and Western Europe, with the competition’s Third Prize being awarded to the submission by Thekla Abriam, who is currently a parishioner at the Diocesan Cathedral in London, whilst simultaneously a student of iconography at the renowned school of Trinity-St Sergius Lavra near Moscow.

Thekla’s submission — which, like others, was a sketch of a proposed composition rather than a final product — will now be commissioned in four copies by the Holy Synod, one of which will remain in the Synod Headquarters in New York, while the others (together with the copies of the first and second place entries) will be presented as gifts to patriarchs and other ecclesiastical dignitaries over the coming year’s centenary celebration in various parts of the world.

His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe has written to congratulate Thekla with her accomplishment, and expresses his happiness at the eagerness with which members of the Diocese approached this worthy endeavour.