Over the last few years, I have received a great number of emails and messages from people who feel a closeness to the Celtic Saints and who would like to own a hand-painted icon for their private life of prayer. Most of the options I found were either too expensive (for me, at least), or they were mass-produced generic icons. That is not wrong in itself, but it does take away from the unique character each icon should have. it also means that it becomes very difficult to personalise the icon, so that elements of Celtic Christianity, as well as specific details from the life of each saint are difficult to include.
As it usually happens, I looked in all the wrong directions until the obvious solution simply presented itself to me. One evening, as I was praying before my own icon of St Seraphim, I realised I could simply get back in touch with the iconographer who painted my own icon. He was the right choice for my personal icons, so he should be good enough for anyone else. He is not a famous master, he does not run a workshop employing other people. He is a simple man whom I have met while he was working in our monastery in Moldavia. He was involved in the restoration of the fifteenth century iconography in our main church. I grew to like him, as he was a quiet and faithful man, and so I eventually asked him to paint an icon of St Seraphim for me to use in my cell.
So I’ve got back in touch with him to ask if he is still painting (he is an older gentleman), and I’ve asked him to paint a series of twelve Celtic Saints for us. These are the first three: St Columba, St Brendan and St Patrick. Because he does not mass-produce, he had the time to work with me on the composition of each icon. We selected specific details relevant to the life of each saint and we replaced some of the Byzantine elements with Celtic ones (such as using Celtic Crosses, the Celtic symbol of the Trinity, the Celtic style of monastic tonsure etc).
So here they are: each of them unique and unrepeatable, each of them carefully thought about and prayed for. We only have one copy of each, and they are available from our online bookstore. Subsequent orders will incorporate all specifically Celtic and personal details, but will not be identical to these ones. Original hand-painted icons are always unique. In style and quality, they are exactly what I own and what most monastics in Moldavia use in their cells. They are all hand-painted on wood, with golden leaf; the wood is enforced on the back for a longer life; on the back of each icon there is a small painting of a Celtic Cross, and the words: ‘Monastery of All Celtic Saints, Isle of Mull, Scotland’. All icons have already been blessed by me, but you may take them to your church for a blessing, too.
For more details, see these links: