Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Full 2-Year Formation in Iconography At St Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary - Open to Catholics

Dr George Kordis, renowned iconographer and former artist-in-residence at the Institute of Sacred Arts at St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, New York, is launching a two-year program in Byzantine iconography. Open to Catholics, this is a hybrid program, which is predominantly online, with individualized residencies in the United States or Greece. 

The program admits around 15 per class, with the first class starting in the fall, and the next intake in January 2024, as space and entrance qualifications permit. I have been told that the first class is almost full and approximately 50% Catholic, so it is worth applying now, and if you don’t get in for the fall, try to enroll for the January intake. Students in this program will build a firm foundation for their future practice of iconography by completing a comprehensive range of coursework, ranging from technical workshops on drawing to lecture classes on art history, theology, and aesthetics.
Dr Kordis has been teaching iconography students in his native Greece for over 30 years. Through this certificate program, he intends to teach students to ground themselves in the iconographic tradition, while also bringing their own creative touch to their work, so that “students become vibrant creators, not just copyists.”

The Writing the Light program curriculum is ideally designed for a 2-year period of study, but is responsive to each individual student and their specific needs with flexibility and affordability.

A final thesis of an original composition of an icon(s) will be the culmination of the program coursework, with an exhibition at the Mets Art Center in Athens, Greece, and/or at another appropriate exhibition space in the United States.

Upon completion of the program, each student will have gained:
  • a well-rounded foundation in the studio practice of iconography,
  • preparation to continue working towards a professional level within the structure of sacred Christian Orthodox art,
  • accomplishment of specific artistic studies to pursue a passion.
Each year only 10 – 16 students will be admitted into the program, building a close creative community with fellow students and instructors. Live (synchronous) online classes, online seminars and sustained in-person residencies of one week to ten days will feature regular touch points with each student. This is a part-time program that allows students to continue to maintain their current life-work flow, and manage the Certificate workload – an average of 5 to 12 hours per week for the online portion, with full immersion during the residential periods.

NOTE: the Certificate program with Writing the Light does not count towards academic credit with St. Vladimir’s Seminary.


ONLINE – Classes are a balanced combination of a recorded (asynchronous) e-learning system and LIVE (synchronous) virtual seminars and classes delivered through Zoom and Vimeo, with long-distance critique and oversight.

RESIDENCIES – There are four required residencies and multiple options for students to choose from. These immersions are a critical part of the program to provide valuable in-person instruction, critique and oversight for growth and artistic progress. With an international scope, these 7 to 10-day residencies are a critical part of the program to provide valuable in-person instruction, critique and oversight for growth and artistic progress. The flexibility for students to choose the location and time of year of the residencies to fit into their life schedule is a major asset to the program.


+ One-on-one mentorship with Dr. George Kordis

+ Structured instruction with proven methods

+ Rigorous iconographic practice and discourse

+ Focused studio production 

+ Concept and creative development 

+ Critical analysis and articulation

+ Exposure to early Byzantine examples 

+ Immersion in contemporary iconography

+ Knowledge of best Professional practices

+ Networking opportunities within an international community of iconographers

+ One-of-a kind professional internships

+ Experience from portable icons to professional church painting 

Students in this program will:

  • Mentor under one of the leading iconographers, artists and Byzantine scholars in the world with Dr. George Kordis

  • Create a unique body of their own iconographic work based on the building blocks of the Byzantine system, yet living in Christian tradition

  • Demonstrate the skills, knowledge and discipline necessary for a successful professional pursuit of iconography in the specialized field of sacred arts

  • Develop a “Tool Box” of sustainable working methodologies to support and challenge each student’s personal studio practice alongside professional-level skills

  • Gain extensive experience using traditional and modern iconographic art materials and diverse painting techniques

  • Accomplish a solid, working knowledge of Theology and Aesthetics in Byzantine Iconography

  • Understand the history, theories and movements that have shaped Byzantine iconography with a foundation in its contemporary practice internationally

  • Effectively gain an understanding of both traditional and modern techniques necessary to create beautiful and original new work centered around tradition and individual style

  • Actively engage with a supportive, extended creative community of new friends 

  • Develop a diverse international and professional network

  • Meaningfully contribute to artistic culture and the advancement of sacred arts 

  • Share creative work with a professional Thesis Exhibition in Athens and/or New York 

  • Obtain a Certificate of accomplishment given by Writing the Light 

  • Be prepared to advance to a professional level within their own practice 

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