One of the cool things I sorta got to know more about were the icons they had. I have always found them to be really beautiful and intriguing. My Mother has a couple that friends have given her over the years. They are vivid in color and often there is a story behind them.
I mention this because I am always looking for different kinds of art to put up on the walls. Right now we have a lot of photography up on the walls (which is interesting since many of pieces were done by family or us) and I think it is time to add something else. Also we have this one wall which has art from Europe and Egypt that I received when my Grandparents died. I want to fill it with more unusual things. I began to think of some of the icons my Mother has on the wall. I am now looking around at various Orthodox icons and seeing what sort of inspiration I can gain. Many icons (besides being devoted to Jesus, Mary, the apostles) are devoted to various saints. A good saint or two is good to have around the house. The Eastern Orthodox church and the Roman Catholic church share a lot of things in common (took them a few hundred years to figure that one out) so there are a lot of things that translate.
Here is a bit of history and explanation on icons.
One from the Skete.com
The word Icon comes from the Greek word eikon which means image, the same word that describes the creation of man in God’s image and likeness. Icons are Apostolic, and healing, and even pre-date the written Gospels. The first icon was made miraculously by Jesus Christ Himself, and the next icons were made by the Holy Apostle Luke. Here are gathered many of the great icon treasures of the world, by many of the greatest masters of iconographic art. You will find five icons attributed to St. Luke’s own hand, many of the unsigned masters of the Byzantine era, St. Andrei Rublev, the acknowledged greatest iconographer of Russia, the famous post-Byzantine iconographer Theophan the Cretan, Moscow’s Armory School founder Simon Ushakov, and many, many others. This is great art, and these are great Christian art treasures, across a spectrum of centuries and millennium, from the historic and living Church as it has expressed itself in many cultures, both East and West.
There is a wide variety of icons from different ages, schools, and iconographers, as well as from many specific locations represented such as St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai; Holy Dionysiou Monastery and Holy Stavro-Nikita Monastery on Mount Athos, and many other historic monasteries in Russia, Serbia, and Macedonia where there are large selections of famous and historic icons.
You can find a lot of icons all over the place. (Including ebay) But one thing to keep in mind is that some have been stolen over the years. Some were taken when Russia became communist and also some were taken by the Catholic church. Sometimes people in villages would hide the icons so they wouldn't be taken from the church and they were hidden under floor boards for decades. There is a lot of interesting history behind specific icons and their makers.
Here are a few icons:
Michael the Archangel