Header image: Detail from an icon of the Miracle of St. George painted at Vologda in the latter half of the 16th century. Aschberg Collection.© Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.
The theme of of the book Northern Byzantine Icons, the fifth to be published by the committee, is icons and their influence in the north, in Russia, Finland, Sweden and Alaska. The papers contained in it deal with the history of holy men and women who lived and worked in the north. The idea is to throw new light on icons as an art form and a part of the cultural heritage that has come to us from the east, thus opening up a new and frequently overlooked perspective on our own very largely westernized culture. Icons have been described as windows on Heaven, and it is very much a matter of personal attitude as to whether we look on them as instruments of prayer, works of art or museum items.
All the authors represented here are members of the Committee for Byzantine Studies and experts in their own fields of research, but they have attempted to write in clear, everyday language in order to appeal to a less specialized readership, even though the facts and ideas they present are based on sound academic study.
This volume also contains a short biography of the founder of the Committee for Byzantine Studies and its long-standing chairman, Professor Aune Jääskinen, whose life’s work, in which she continues to be as active as ever, has been the cornerstone of Finnish iconography and icon research. The other authors thus wish through this volume to express their thanks to Aune Jääskinen for the guidance and encouragement that they have received from her over the years, just as the members of the society as a whole thank their highly inventive chairman who has constantly arranged new, memorable Byzantine experiences for us.
One of the most recent of these was a cultural excursion to the Monastery of Tikhvin in Russia in August 2013 to pay our respects to the miracle-working icon of the Mother of God of Tikhvin.
This volume will also contribute something essentially new to the international exchange of ideas in Byzantine studies, as it will be published simultaneously in Finnish and English.
* Teuvo Laitila: Divine wonders and worldly saintliness
* Matti Haltia: Saint Herman of Alaska
* Elina Kahla: The new female saints of Russia
* Aune Jääskinen: From viking princess to a Princess of All Russia
* Maritta Pitkanen: Olof Aschberg and his icon collection in Stockholm
* Merja Merras: Icon painting in Finland today
* Katariina Husso: Icon collections in Finnish museums
* Pirkko Vekkeli: The matriarch of the Committee for Byzantine Studies
* Appendix 1: Selected bibliography of books and papers by Prof. Aune Jääskinen
* Appendix 2: Finnish National Committee for Byzantine Studies: diary of events, 2006–2013
Northern Byzantine icons
Publisher: The Finnish National Committee for Byzantium Studies and authors
Editor in Chief: Marja Usvasalo
Translation and language editing: Malcolm Hicks.
Design: Olli Miettinen.
Printing: Edita Prima Oy. – 190 pages. – ISBN 978-952-99005-4-1
ORDER INQUIRIES: Ms. Marja Usvasalo EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chairman, Professor Aune Jääskinen
The Finnish National Committee for Byzantine Studies (Suomen Bysanttikomitea ry), founded in August 1991, serves as an informal meeting place and forum for discussions for scholars, artists, art collectors and others in Finland inspired by the Byzantine cultural heritage. Its members include university teachers and researchers in the humanities, theologians, icon painters, museum staff and librarians. Its annual programme comprises lectures, discussion meetings and journeys abroad and within Finland, all on themes connected with Byzantine history and tradition extending from the late Classical period up to the present day.
Northern Byzantine Icons – is a book which sheds new light on icons, a cultural heritage that we have received form the east. This point of view is often overlooked in the predominantly western-influenced Finland of today.
The tradition of holy images that developed in Byzantium in the early Middle Ages spread northward in the course of the centuries, along with Christianity itself – reaching Kiev, Novgorod, Karelia and Finland, and even Alaska.
The eight authors of this book explore this tradition, including the men and women depicted in the icons and icon research. The text is complemented with colour illustrations.