Friday, April 25, 2014

Announcing This Year's Beneficiary of the WIH 10% Donation Plan:
     OCMC Missionary to Guatemala - Jesse Brandow 

Christ is Risen, brothers and sisters! 

I am pleased to announce that as the result of our survey, Orthodox Christian Mission Center's Missionary to Guatemala, Jesse Brandow,  has been chosen as this year's recipient for the Window Into Heaven 10% Donation Plan. According to this plan, for the next twelve month period, 10% of all WIH proceeds will be donated to the Orthodox Christian Mission Center.

A big thank you to all those who voted!


About Jesse Brandow's work:

Jesse Brandow  (St. Vladimir's Seminary alumnus, '13) first traveled to Guatemala as a short-term missionary in 2009 and then returned in 2012 for an entire summer. Now, through the continuing support of people throughout the United States, Jesse returns to Guatemala as a long-term missionary. 
Learn more:  
Mayan Orthodoxy  
Jesse Brandow on Facebook
OCMC Profile

About OCMC:
OCMC mission is to help fulfill the Great Commission of Christ: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20).

The Orthodox Christian Mission Center strives to establish vibrant Eucharistic communities throughout the world, to develop and support indigenous church leaders, and to strengthen the infrastructure of their churches. OCMC carries out this work primarily, though not solely, in countries where Christianity is in the minority and where the Gospel message has not been proclaimed.

OCMC recruits, trains, sends, and supports Orthodox missionaries who preach, teach, baptize, construct, and minister to the spiritual and physical needs of those being served and saved.


The Orthodox Christian Mission Center is a nonprofit organization that depends heavily on donations to sustain work. 


OCMC Official Website
OCMC On Facebook
OCMC On Twitter

Thursday, March 27, 2014

For the last two years a Donation Plan was implemented according to which 10% of all proceeds of Window Into Heaven website was given to one non-profit orthodox organization. Based on your votes, St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary was chosen in the year 2012, and OCMC in 2013.

Now it's the time to cast in your vote once again!

Submit your vote through the survey located to the right.

To help you choose, below you will find information on these organizations.

Voting is open until April 19th, 2014.


  • OCMC Missionary to Guatemala - Jesse Brandow  | Jesse Brandow  (St. Vladimir's Seminary alumnus, '13) first traveled to Guatemala as a short-term missionary in 2009 and then returned in 2012 for an entire summer. Now, through the continuing support of people throughout the United States, Jesse returns to Guatemala as a long-term missionary. Learn more: Mayan Orthodoxy
  •  IOCC / International Orthodox Christian Charities | "Helping others help themselves."
    IOCC, in the spirit of Christ’s love, offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond.
  • Project Mexico & St. Innocent Orphanage / "Building Hope for Boys Without Families and Families Without Homes."
    Project Mexico performs works of mercy and helps others do works of mercy in the name of Jesus Christ, transcending cultural barriers by building homes for the poor in Mexico and by providing a home for orphaned boys through St. Innocent Orphanage.
  • OCPM / Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry | "Remember those who are in prison, as if in prison with them."
    OCPM brings the love of Christ to those who are in prison by providing encouragement, material support, transition and reintegration services, Christian education, spiritual guidance and the sacramental life of the Church. Listen to Chaplain Patrick Tutella, the Executive Director of OCPM, and Kory Warr, OCPM's Chairman of the Board, speak about the important work in which they are engaged.
  • Hogar Rafael Ayau A "home" for children.
    The Hogar Rafael Ayau orphanage in Guatemala City is home to neglected and abandoned children who have been brought into the Hogar family and raised in a warm and loving Orthodox environment, under the care of Orthodox nuns. For over fifteen years, the Hogar has been home to over one thousand children.
  •  PK4A / Paradise Kids for Africa
    In 2008 began an Orthodox Mission to Sierra Leone.  Rev Themi has worked tirelessly to provide food, education and shelter to the poorest of the poor. Only four years later a considerable list of achievements is to be noted: Three permanent churches, a school, a kindergarten, housing complex for the disabled, a clinic and a college were built.  Visit PK4A website and watch this video to learn more.
  • Saint Vladimir's Theological Seminary | "Engaging the world with Orthodox Christianity."
    St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary serves Christ, his Church, and the world through Orthodox Christian theological education, research, and scholarship, and the promotion of inter-Orthodox cooperation. In this way, the Seminary prepares students for ministry as bishops, priests, deacons, lay leaders, and scholars so that they may build up Orthodox communities, foster Church growth through mission and evangelism, teach the Orthodox faith, and care for those in need. St Vladimir's Seminary is a nonprofit organization that depends heavily on donations to sustain work. 
  • Ancient Faith Radio | "Bringing the Ancient Faith to the Modern World."
    Ancient Faith Radio seeks to deepen and enrich the faith of Orthodox Christians around the world with streaming audio programming and on-demand podcasts.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Call for Submissions: 
Name Organizations to be considered for WIH 10% Donation Plan in 2014

     For the last two years a Donation Plan was implemented according to which 10% of all proceeds of Window Into Heaven website was given to one non-profit orthodox organization. Based on your votes, St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary was chosen in the year 2012, and OCMC in 2013.

      The time is coming to cast in your vote once again! On April 19th, 2014 a new recipient will be named. Voting will begin on March 30th.

      In the meantime, I would love to hear from you! Which Orthodox Christian non-profit organizations should be considered for the vote? Leave your comment below or contact me through e-mail.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Our Lady of Częstochowa
Acrylic on wood panel and 23K gold leaf
20"x27"

This icon was commissioned for Holy Apostles Orthodox Church in New Jersey, by a parishioner in memory of her husband. 

This image takes origin in a well known and greatly venerated icon. The history behind this icon is not clear due to major restoration done in the 14th century, as well as conflicting information from historic documents.

According to the tradition, the board for this icon was at one time a table in the home of the holy family, on which St Luke the Evangelist painted Mary, the Theotokos, with Jesus. The painting displays a traditional composition "Hodegetria" ("One Who Shows the Way"). The Virgin directs attention away from herself, gesturing with her right hand toward Jesus as the source of salvation. In turn, the Child extends His right hand toward the viewer in blessing while holding a Gospel in His left hand.

The icon is known by many names. Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa, Poland, is the site in which this icon has been kept for six centuries and two most common names for the icon, "Our Lady of Czestochowa"  and "Our Lady of Jasna Gora," reflect this location.

The icon is also known as "Black Madonna". According to a legend, this icon was in a fire; miraculously the icon was not burned, but as a result the pigments were darkened.

Another legends explains the scars on the right cheek: In 1430, the sanctuary in which the icon was located, was plundered by Hussites. Among the items stolen was the icon. After putting it in their wagon, the Hussites tried to get away but their horses refused to move. They threw the icon down to the ground and one of the plunderers drew his sword upon the image and inflicted two deep strikes. When the robber tried to inflict a third strike, he fell to the ground and squirmed in agony until his death. According to a slightly different rendition of the story, the robber struck the painting twice, the face of the Virgin Mary started to bleed; in a panic, the scared Hussites retreated and left the painting. Despite past attempts to repair these scars, a difficulty was encountered in covering up those slashes, as the icon was painted with tempera infused with diluted wax. (1)

Today this icon is also associated with the pro-life message and one of the best known replicas of the icon (2) will be present at this year's March for Life in Washington, D.C. which will take place this Wednesday, January 22nd. (3)





Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Conception by Righteous Anna of the Most Holy Mother of God
Acrylic on wood panel and 23K gold leaf
5.5"x8.25"

This icon was commissioned as a gift for a couple for their wedding day.

According to the sacred tradition of the Church, the Theotokos was born of barren and aged parents, Saints Joachim and Anna. St Anna was the youngest daughter of the priest Nathan from Bethlehem, descended from the tribe of Levi. St Joachim was of the tribe of Judah, and a descendant of King David.

Saints Joachim and Anna were childless for many years but they continued steadfastly to beseech the Lord that He would show mercy on them and remove this burden.

One day, as Saint Joachim was praying in the hill country, his wife, Saint Anna, was praying at the same time at their house in Jerusalem. Archangel Gabriel appeared to both of them and announced to them the birth of "a daughter most blessed, by whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and through whom will come the salvation of the world." St. Joachim was told to return home, where he would find his wife waiting for him in the city gate. When they saw one another, they embraced, and this image is the traditional icon of their feast. (1,2)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Saint Nicholas of Myra, Wonder-Worker
Acrylic on wood panel and 23K gold leaf
5.5"x8.25"

This icon of St Nicholas of Myra was painted for a person who, through his acts of philanthropy, is following the example of this great saint.

Our father among the saints Nicholas of Myra, Wonder-worker, was the archbishop of Myra in the fourth century.

Little is known of the life of Nicholas, but by tradition, he was born in the province of Lycia in the southern part of Asia Minor in the city of Patara to well-to-do parents. Having inherited his parents' estate, Nicholas became known for his generous gifts to those in need.

He was consecrated Archbishop of Myra in the beginning of the fourth century, but was imprisoned soon after during the persecutions of Diocletian, only to be released by Emperor Constantine.

St Nicholas is also praised for his defense of Orthodoxy against the Arians. (1 , 2 , 3 )

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Holy King Josiah
Acrylic on wood panel and 23K gold leaf
8.75"x11"

Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight, in 641 B.C., and reigned for 31 years.

In the eighteenth year of his rule, Josiah ordered the High Priest Hilkiah to renovate the temple. It was during this time that Hilkiah discovered the Book of the Law. High Priest brought this scroll to Josiah's attention, and the king ordered it read to the people of Jerusalem.

Josiah encouraged the exclusive worship of Yahweh and outlawed all other forms of worship. As a result of his leadership the entire population of Judah turned against the false priests and pagan altars. Spurred by Josiah, the people thoroughly purged their land of every kind of idolatry.

Josiah was righteous in a time of wickedness. His righteousness was unsurpassed by any king before or after him.

 (1, 2, 3)

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Saint Macrina the Younger
Acrylic on wood panel and 23K gold leaf
8.75"x11"  and 5.5"x8.25"

These two icons were commissioned by the St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary Student Council. During the 2013 commencement, which took place on May 18, the President of the Student Council awarded one of the professors the St Macrina Teaching Award. The professor was presented with the smallest of the two icons. The larger icon will be displayed in one of the buildings of the St. Vladimir's Seminary. 

The eldest of ten children, St. Macrina was born into a family that has graced the church with many saints. Her grandmother, St. Macrina the Elder, moved with her husband to Pontus during Galerius’ persecution of the Church. The younger Macrina’s parents, Basil and Emiliana, were declared saints by the Church, as were three of her four brothers, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Peter of Sebaste. In his work, On the Soul and the Resurrection, Gregory calls Macrina the Teacher, and, from his Life of the Teacher, it is clear that she was the spiritual influence on and the spiritual center of her family. ( St Nina Quarterly )


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Virgin of Tenderness and Christ Pantocrator
Acrylic on wood panel and 23K gold leaf
7.25"x10"

These icons of Christ and Theotokos were copied from the two icons in the Three Hierarchs Chapel at St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. This was commissioned by a family that graduated from the St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary last year.

On the icon of Theotokos with Child, the scroll says "The Spirit of the Lord is Upon me because He hath anointed me, He hath sent me to preach good things to the poor." This is the prophecy of Isaiah about the Messiah, which Jesus read in the synagogue when He was beginning his public work after his baptism.

Friday, May 10, 2013


Announcing This Year's Beneficiary of the WIH 10% Donation Plan:
Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC)

Christ is Risen, brothers and sisters! 

I am pleased to announce that as the result of our survey, Orthodox Christian Mission Center has been chosen as this year's recipient for the Window Into Heaven 10% Donation Plan. According to this plan, for the next twelve month period, 10% of all WIH proceeds will be donated to the Orthodox Christian Mission Center


A big thank you to all those who voted! 


About this Organization:
OCMC mission is to help fulfill the Great Commission of Christ: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20).

The Orthodox Christian Mission Center strives to establish vibrant Eucharistic communities throughout the world, to develop and support indigenous church leaders, and to strengthen the infrastructure of their churches. OCMC carries out this work primarily, though not solely, in countries where Christianity is in the minority and where the Gospel message has not been proclaimed.

OCMC recruits, trains, sends, and supports Orthodox missionaries who preach, teach, baptize, construct, and minister to the spiritual and physical needs of those being served and saved.


The Orthodox Christian Mission Center is a nonprofit organization that depends heavily on donations to sustain work. 


OCMC Official Website
OCMC On Facebook
OCMC On Twitter


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Last year a Donation Plan was implemented according to which 10% of all proceeds was given to one non-profit orthodox organization. Based on your votes, St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary was chosen as the recipient.

Now it's the time to cast in your vote once again!

Submit your vote through the survey located to the right.
And to help you choose, below you will find information on these organization.
Voting is open until May 4th, 2013.



  • OCMC / Orthodox Christian Mission Center | "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations."OCMC strives to establish vibrant Eucharistic communities throughout the world, to develop and support indigenous church leaders, and to strengthen the infrastructure of their churches. They carry out this work primarily, though not solely, in countries where Christianity is in the minority and where the Gospel message has not been proclaimed.
  •  IOCC / International Orthodox Christian Charities | "Helping others help themselves."
    IOCC, in the spirit of Christ’s love, offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond.
  • Project Mexico & St. Innocent Orphanage / "Building Hope for Boys Without Families and Families Without Homes."
    Project Mexico performs works of mercy and helps others do works of mercy in the name of Jesus Christ, transcending cultural barriers by building homes for the poor in Mexico and by providing a home for orphaned boys through St. Innocent Orphanage.
  • OCPM / Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry | "Remember those who are in prison, as if in prison with them."
    OCPM brings the love of Christ to those who are in prison by providing encouragement, material support, transition and reintegration services, Christian education, spiritual guidance and the sacramental life of the Church. Listen to Chaplain Patrick Tutella, the Executive Director of OCPM, and Kory Warr, OCPM's Chairman of the Board, speak about the important work in which they are engaged.
  • Hogar Rafael Ayau A "home" for children.
    The Hogar Rafael Ayau orphanage in Guatemala City is home to neglected and abandoned children who have been brought into the Hogar family and raised in a warm and loving Orthodox environment, under the care of Orthodox nuns. For over fifteen years, the Hogar has been home to over one thousand children.
  •  PK4A / Paradise Kids for Africa
    In 2008 began an Orthodox Mission to Sierra Leone.  Rev Themi has worked tirelessly to provide food, education and shelter to the poorest of the poor. Only four years later a considerable list of achievements is to be noted: Three permanent churches, a school, a kindergarten, housing complex for the disabled, a clinic and a college were built.  Visit PK4A website and watch this video to learn more.
  • Saint Vladimir's Theological Seminary | "Engaging the world with Orthodox Christianity."
    St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary serves Christ, his Church, and the world through Orthodox Christian theological education, research, and scholarship, and the promotion of inter-Orthodox cooperation. In this way, the Seminary prepares students for ministry as bishops, priests, deacons, lay leaders, and scholars so that they may build up Orthodox communities, foster Church growth through mission and evangelism, teach the Orthodox faith, and care for those in need. St Vladimir's Seminary is a nonprofit organization that depends heavily on donations to sustain work. 
  • Ancient Faith Radio | "Bringing the Ancient Faith to the Modern World."
    Ancient Faith Radio seeks to deepen and enrich the faith of Orthodox Christians around the world with streaming audio programming and on-demand podcasts.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Call for Submissions: 
Name Organizations to be considered for WIH 10% Donation Plan in 2013

      Last year a Donation Plan was implemented according to which 10% of all proceeds was given to one non-profit orthodox organization. Based on your votes, St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary was chosen as the recipient.

      The time is coming to cast in your vote once again! On May 4th, 2013 a new recipient will be named. Voting will begin on April 14th.

      In the meantime, I would love to hear from you! Which Orthodox Christian non-profit organizations should be considered for the vote? Leave your comment below or contact me through e-mail.



Saturday, March 30, 2013


Our Lady of Walsingham
Acrylic on wood panel and 23K gold leaf
11"x16"

Recently I had an opportunity to work again on an icon of Our Lady of Walsingham.
This image of Theotokos and Christ is based on a statue from the Slipper Chapel located in Walsingham, England. Mary is depicted seated on the Throne of Wisdom. Seven rings on the two pillars symbolize seven sacraments and the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. The arched back reminds us if the rainbow – sign of God’s covenant with the World. Her dress is blue for divinity, white for motherhood, and red for virginity. The lily in her hand has three blooms, sign of Mary’s perpetual virginity before, during, and after Christ’s birth. As the Queen of Heaven and of England, her Dowry, she is crowned with a Saxon Crown. On her knees is Christ Child, holding the Gospel in his left hand, blessing with his right. (1,)

The symbol in the top corners is a monogram of the letters MARIA. Today this medieval monogram serves as a symbol and logo for the Slipper Chapel/Shrine of Our Lady, inWalsingham, England.





Monday, December 3, 2012

Saint Panteleimon the Great Martyr
Acrylic on wood panel
5.25" x 7.75"

The holy, glorious and right-victorious Greatmartyr Panteleimon  at his birth was named Pantaleon, which means "in all things like a lion", but when he converted to Christianity, he changed his name to Panteleimon, which means "all-merciful".

 St. Panteleimon had been educated as a physician, and he dedicated his life to the suffering, the sick, the unfortunate and the needy. He treated all those who turned to him without charge, healing them in the name of Jesus Christ.

Other physicians brought his case before the Emperor Maximian. St. Panteleimon confessed to being a Christian and refused to offer sacrifice to the state gods.  Enraged, Maximian ordered that St. Panteleimon be beheaded. The soldiers took him, but when they struck him while he was praying, the sword melted like wax. After he finished his prayer, a Voice was heard from Heaven, calling the passion-bearer by his new name and summoning him to the heavenly Kingdom. He instructed the soldiers to rise from their knees where they had fallen in fear and to complete the execution. (1 , 2)

Kontakion:  "O Champion and Martyr of God, imitating the Merciful and bearing from Him the grace of healing, cure our spiritual ills by your prayers, and set free from the temptation of the eternal enemy, those who ceaselessly cry out, "Save us, O Lord."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Saint Paul the Apostle
Acrylic on wood panel
5.25" x 7.75"

The source for this icon is a 16th century image from Pokrov church of Rostov region.

Paul, whose original name was Saul, was a fierce persecutor of Christians, and in fact was present at stoning of the first Christian martyr. But around the year A.D. 31 he experienced a blinding vision described in Acts 9:1-20. Sought out by the Apostle Ananias, Saul immediately repented and Ananias baptized him.

The extent of Paul's preaching as he spread the Gospel went far and wide from Arabia to Spain, to both Jews and Gentiles.

 Saint Paul ended his life as a martyr in Rome where  he was beheaded between years A.D. 64 and 67.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

White Angel
Paint over antique Italian ceramic tile
8"x9"

 This antique Italian ceramic tile shows the White Angel - a detail from a Myrrhbearers on Christ's Grave frescoe in the Mileševa monastery, Serbia, dated c. 1235. The frescoe depicts the arrival of the myrrhbearers at the tomb of Christ on Sunday morning, after the events of the Crucifixion. Sitting on the stone is the Angel dressed in white chiton, showing the place of Christ's resurrection, and his empty tomb. This White Angel has also been called the Angel of the Resurrection, since he announced it.













Wednesday, November 14, 2012



Holy Archangel Gabriel
Acrylic on glass
5" x 7"

The image for this icon was taken from the 12th century mosaic in Duomo di Cefalu, Sicily.

 The Holy Archangel Gabriel (the name Gabriel comes from the Hebrew meaning "Man of God," "God is mighty" or "the strength/power of God") appears numerous times in the Holy Scripture: he explains to Daniel the meaning of his vision (Daniel 8:16-19) and announces the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.  Thus his primary role has been called one of announcing the salvation of mankind.

 Kontakion, Tone 8 
Supreme commander Gabriel, you are the glorious intercessor and servant before the all-radiant, worthy, all-powerful, infinite and awesome Trinity. Ever pray now that we may be delivered from all tribulations and torments, so that we may cry out to you: "Rejoice, protection of your servants!"



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Seraphim-Diveyevo, Tenderness Icon of the Mother of God
Acrylic on wood panel
7.25"x7.25"

This small icon was inspired by the Seraphim-Diveyevo Icon of the Mother of God. 

Seraphim-Diveyevo icon belonged to our venerable and God-bearing father St Seraphim of Sarov  (Russian ascetic who lived at the Sarov Monastery in the 18th century). It is said that the Saint anointed the sick with the oil from the lamp burning before the icon, and the sick would receive healing.

The ascetic died while at prayer before the icon on January 2, 1833.  After the death of St Seraphim of Sarov the monastery Superior Father Niphon gave the holy "Tenderness" icon to the sisters of the Seraphim-Diveyevo monastery. (Taken from angelfire.com)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Saint Nektarios of Aegina
Acrylic and 23K golf leaf on wood panel
8.75"x11.25"

This is one of the latest commissions, prepared for St. Nektarios Orthodox Church in Waxahachie, Texas.   

Saint Nektarios (1846-1920) was known as a great miracle worker, particularly as a healer. He was also a prolific writer, theologist, philosopher, moralist, educator, poet, ascetic and mystic. Above all Saint Nektarios was a man of deep prayer, and a hard worker. (1)

St. Nektarios says these words about the Saints of the Church: 
Our Church honors saints not as gods, but as faithful servants, as holy men and friends of God. It extols the struggles they engaged in and the deeds they performed for the glory of God with the action of His grace, in such a way that all the honor that the Church gives them refers to the Supreme Being, Who has viewed their life on earth with gratification. The Church honors them by commemorating them annually through public celebrations and through the erection of Churches in honor of their name.
The holy men of God, who were magnified on earth by the Lord, have been honored by God's holy Church from the very time it was founded by the Savior Christ. (2)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Saint Jude the Apostle
Acrylic and 23K golf leaf on wood panel
5" x 7"

Apostle Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ and his brother, along with St. James, by virtue of being the son of St. Joseph the Betrothed. He is also called Levi or Thaddeus and sometimes the name Jude is rendered as Judas, but he is not to be confused with Judas Iscariot, the Apostle Matthew (also called "Levi"), or the Apostle Thaddeus of the Seventy.

After the Ascension he preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Idumea, Syria, Arabia, Mesopotamia, and Armenia.(1)

Kontakion (Tone 2)
You were chosen as a disciple for your firmness of mind:
An unshakable pillar of the Church of Christ,
You proclaimed His word to the Gentiles,
Telling them to believe in one Godhead.
You were glorified by Him, receiving the grace of healing,
Healing the ills of all who came to you,
O most praised Apostle Jude!