The gold of the mosaics, the dancing colors of the frescoes, the majesty of the icons: the beauty of Byzantine Orthodox iconographic treasures enraptured my gaze, my heart, and my thoughts. This world, in truth comprised of so many universes, abounding in allure and masterpieces, became the subject of my studies—first theological and later art history—and of my general research.
I discovered the true meaning of sacred images, I learnt about as well as to respect traditions with which I hadn’t been raised, and to view Byzantine Orthodox sacred images with a gaze attentive to a potential encounter. Day after day, thanks to intensive and continuous study, I developed a passion for mosaic compositions from Antiquity – from Ravenna to Rome, from Salento to Cyprus and current-day Jordan, up to the masterpieces of the Byzantine Middle Ages – to the spectacular fresco cycles of the Balkans, in particular from medieval Serbia and the manifold world of icons. These beckoning windows towards the celestial horizon enchant me, excite me, transport me into a universe where Christianity expresses its history in colors and human forms, transformed into Beauty.
Meeting extraordinary people, having the opportunity to discover and admire in real life the artistic legacy of the Byzantine Orthodox tradition, the enthusiastic response over the years of so many students while teaching at the university, these have all made me love even more this literally exceptional inheritance, convincing me of the opportunity of introduction it people sensitive to and appreciative of Christian art who desire to become more acquainted with the many pearls of art often hidden or little known outside the centuries in which they were produced.
The journeys I propose through the Academy for Christian Art traverse centuries and geographic borders: we will knock on the doors of many churches, pass over their thresholds, and be received by the many sacred people and numerous stories painted on the walls. We will be amazed, we will learn about them and be awed anew.