Rus Articles Journal

Whether there are Indian icons?

That the little that I knew about North American Indians, perhaps, could be contained in several lines: the Maya, a tomahawk, skvo, cocoa - beans, a pipe of peace, scalps, a reservation, Yukon, Mayne Reid and Otseola, Fenimore Cooper and the St. John`s Wort.

But not so long ago I became interested in history of North American Indians, began to look for information and to consider the photos posted on the Internet. And here, step by step, reached Indian icons. The phenomenon this very unusual, many centuries in a row Indians adhered to the primordial beliefs and only today in connection with dynamics of development of the modern world the part of Indians adopted Christianity. And rather recently, already in the XX century, there were first Indian icons (quite so they are positioned by Indians of North America).

Perhaps, the priest John Giuliani became the most famous North American icon painter. On Giuliani`s nationality - the Italian, on religion - the Catholic. In youth he studied art at Institute Pratt in Brooklyn which ended in 1952, but then went on a religious path and in 1960 became the priest. In 1977 together with five other priests based a Benedictine community in Connecticut. Already at mature age he studied religious painting and an iconography in New - York. Giuliani was well familiar with samples and canons of the Byzantine school of an iconography, but was not confident that parishioners - Indians will apprehend them properly.

John Giuliani was faced by a difficult task - to represent biblical scenes well and clear, at the same time he knew that he will create for Indians - Christians of all tribes irrespective of, they adhere to Catholicism, Protestantism or Orthodoxy. In 1990 when five hundred years after the first arrival of Columbus in America, Giuliani were executed decided for himself that on icons it is necessary to represent Indians, having given them thereby the chance more deeply to experience bible motives.

Giuliani carried out huge ethnographic work - he studied household items of tribes of a hopa, a sia, the Navajo, he was interested literally everything - jewelry, beadwork, features of weaving, and also ceremonies and moral values of Indians. To the surprise, he found many similar lines in evangelical precepts and in Indian rules of honor.

John Giuliani`s icons are based on plots of Shabby and New Precepts, and, despite unusual to our eye appearance of characters, all images are recognized. The main lines of an ikonotvorchestvo of Giuliani - mortal life of Jesus Christ, life of the Mother of God, the image of Saints and archangels, images of the Virgin with the Baby. The priest`s icons - the icon painter are in temples in Montana and in Dakota.

What unusual it is possible to see on Giuliani`s icons? On the Revival icon Christ is represented dancing national dancing of the sun. On an icon of Lord`s Transformation Moisey standing near Christ holds on shoulders a buffalo skin, in hands at it - eagle wings as a sign of its greatness, Eli`s prophet is represented with a pipe of peace in hands.

Having brought in an iconography of feature of appearance, clothes and life of North American Indians, Giuliani as if repeated Christ`s phrase: “There is neither Greek, nor the Jew“, and reminded people of a spiritual Indian precept: “Parts of one creation, all of us have to recognize each other as brothers and sisters“.