New Icons for St John the Divine Church in Windsor, ON

January 12, 2021

When I first arrived at St. John the Divine in 2007, I felt as if I had walked into a WW2 movie where the GIs were holed up in an abandoned, bombed-out church. The building had been closed for several years. The roof and dome had some severe leaks. With the freezing and thawing, plaster would fall and flake like snow.  The floor felt like a game board with 8x8 floor tiles, lifting all over for the kids to toss about. The cracks in the walls were numerous and growing. 

Given the cracks, drafty single pane windows, and a broken boiler, our heat bills were $800 per month for our 1800 sq ft building! Since the church was almost 100 years old, I expected it to be full of icons. To my surprise, there were very few.

God’s presence was there, and new people joined. Little by little, we grew and people donated their time, talents and treasure. Today, this church is once again a gem, a place that is in the world, but certainly not of the world.

Our iconography project began in 2015, with many unexpected donations, earmarked to update the icons of our iconostasis. In 2019, we received some generous, unexpected donations to complete the icon project, by adding iconography to the ceiling and altar area. The pandemic proved to work in our favour, as Gligor Stefanov, our iconographer from Artsome Studio for Icons, was unable to travel beyond the Canadian border. As we are a local client, our iconography project moved up the list, and was completed on the last day of December, 2020.

Our recent iconography project instills the feeling that we are a church family. The first person you see as you enter the nave is the Theotokos over the altar, greeting all with outstretched hands, welcoming all to her Son, in the icon below where Jesus is offering Himself to us in Holy Communion.

Our parish has been reborn and going forward, we pray will remain a church home, for generations to come.

Fr Constantine Katsilas