Greek artists wield lasers, traditional tools for icons in new North Hills church
By Craig Smith
Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
From scaffolding 60 feet high, a team of artists from Greece combined modern laser-guided instruments with an ancient stick-and-charcoal method to sketch designs for icons they painted for the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church being built in the North Hills.
George Kordis, a leading expert in Byzantine iconography, and his team are helping ready the church for its June 22 opening by painting a series of icons on the church's domed ceiling and other areas. An assistant professor of iconography at the University of Athens, Kordis and his crew have been working 12 hours a day, six days a week since April 2. They hope to finish their work by May 15.
“We had a very good canvas,” Kordis said Tuesday. “The architecture has helped us a lot.”
Designed to be viewed from below, the large icons often include depictions of Christ, Mary, the saints and angels.
Iconography is an important tradition in the church used to tell the story of the Orthodox faith, experts said.
“They are considered liturgical necessities,” said the Rev. Peter Pearson, an iconography expert formerly of Lawrenceville. “They consider the icons ... to be communicating the presence of the people they represent.”
The new church, near La Roche College in McCandless, features a Byzantine temple that seats about 375 people under a 33-foot dome.
Founded in 1923 on the corner of Sandusky Street and Stockton Avenue in the North Side, Holy Trinity moved to West North Avenue in 1960. The community and its needs continued to grow so the church in 2008 bought 10 acres in McCandless for just more than $1 million, selling its North Side building in 2011 to the North Side Institutional Church of God in Christ for $950,000. Since then, it has been meeting at the former Northway Elementary School in Ross.
The total cost of the new church is about $6 million.
Fundraising began in August 2008, just about the time the economy tanked.
“It's been blessed by God at every step,” said the Rev. John Touloumes, pastor.
The erecting of Greek Orthodox churches these days is rare, said Pearson of Scranton.
“These communities (founded by immigrants) are old. ... It's unusual to see a new church these days,” he said.
Many churches are losing members, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America said.
About 60 percent of Greek Orthodox families of the last generation and 90 percent of Americans with Greek roots have lost touch with the church, the archdiocese said.
Church officials know they are bucking the norm.
“We are very fortunate ... (and) very excited,” said George Dickos, president of the parish council.
Craig Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- South Fayette parents express dissatisfaction with handling of bullying
- Obama hopes to replicate CCAC job training efforts across United States
- South Fayette mother wants case against bullied son to be dropped
- Legal experts question prosecuting South Fayette boy for recording bullies
- Would-be drillers quizzed by Allegheny County Council committee
- District attorney’s office takes paperwork from Wilkinsburg Middle School
- Moon school hiring under fire
- Crisis nursery in Larimer will fill a need, founders believe
- Ex-detective picked for Pittsburgh’s Citizen Police Review Board
- Leader guided changes at Robert Morris
- Foundations team to make offer for August Wilson Center