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St Edward icon dedicated

Monday, 21st October 2019

St Edward icon dedicated

A new icon of St Edward the Confessor has been dedicated and placed in the shrine, the place of his burial, in Westminster Abbey.

Pilgrims at the Abbey on Saturday 19th October for the annual pilgrimage to the shrine were able to venerate the icon, which was written by the Orthodox Russian iconographer Archimandrite Zinon (Teodor), and made of egg tempera on a lime board, framed in oak.

The icon was commissioned to mark the 750th anniversary of St Edward's translation, and was dedicated by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall.

St Edward the Confessor, King of England from 1042 to 1066, re-endowed the Benedictine monastery of Westminster and built a large Romanesque church for the monastic community. Edward died shortly after the dedication of that building on 28th December 1065. He was canonised in 1161 and on 13th October 1163 his body was moved, or ‘translated’, to a new tomb in the church which he had built.

St Edward’s Romanesque church survived until the 13th century, when it was replaced by a new church in the Gothic style built by Henry III. A new shrine was constructed for the body of St Edward, and the translation of his relics to this shrine was an integral part of the liturgy of the dedication of Henry’s church on 13th October 1269. St Edward’s relics remain in that same shrine, which is behind the High Altar.

Archimandrite Zinon has written many icons and iconostases and has worked in Russia, France, Finland, Belgium, Austria and Greece. Among his most celebrated works are his frescoes and a number of icons in the lower Church of the Feodorovsky Cathedral in St Petersburg. The icon of St Edward is his first work in the UK.

The Abbey has two other icons, displayed in the nave close to the Grave of the Unknown Warrior. They represent the Mother of God with the Christ Child and Christ himself. They were written by Sergei Federov, a pupil of Fr Zinon, and were dedicated in 1994.

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At different times of the day, or in different seasons, the light falling in the Abbey will light up something that you have walked past a million times and never seen before.

Vanessa, Head of Conservation

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