What is up with the Prosopon School?
These (and they're not the only ones):
This image of God the Father, Christ and the Holy Spirit is a variant of the NT Trinity. Not only is God the Father shown as an old man, but the Holy Spirit is shown as a winged angelic figure, a form the Spirit has never manifested as. The Spirit has appeared in the form of a dove, as fiery tongues, and as the cloud of uncreated light surrounding Christ at His Transfiguration, but never in the form in this "icon".
Setting aside the uncanonicity of God the Father as an old man for a moment, while St Anna, together with her husband St Joachim, are liturgically referred to as “holy venerable forebears of God”, this does not mean that St Anna is on an equal theological footing with God the Father.
This school has a particular fondness for painting Holy Wisdom and related images, which have, again, been denounced by the Church more than once as expressing an incomplete and defective theology, of denying the fullness of the Incarnation. This image goes further with the Holy Silence theme, by adding a star on the forehead and shoulders of the angel (as would be the case with icons of the Mother of God); and placing Christ Emmanuel over the angel’s body in the manner of Of the Sign icons. Did this virgin angel conceive and bear a son, called Emmanuel? To add to this theological confusion, there is a medallion of Christ’s face above the angel.
In icons of the Hospitality of Abraham, and in St Andrei of Radonezh’s Holy Trinity
, the vessel in the foreground, containing a calf’s head, prefigures the sacrifice of the Son of God, and the Eucharistic chalice. In this “creative” twist on accepted iconography, the incarnate Christ Emmanuel is seen inside the vessel, with the inscription Lamb
on either side of Him. More theological and Trinitarian confusion.
It is of great concern that the classes this school provides are very popular. For an iconographer, acquiring skill in painting technique is necessary, but, more important is acquiring a thorough knowledge of what should and should not be painted. It is essential that teachers of iconography are vigilant against the propagation of suspect and uncanonical images. It is acceptable for an iconographer to paint icons of canonical content, even if his skill is not polished. It is unacceptable for him to paint images with a masterly technique, but whose content goes against Orthodox doctrine and theology.