My father phoned from the car while I was on the bus to tell me about an old friend he’d met today. His friend has begun to paint religious icons, using traditional methods in every measure. To paint an icon is something like prayer, she said; the bringing together of the marks, the gathering of the image in anticipation of the prayers to be said before it, asks for a certain preparation of mind. The iconographers are only people, and the people praying are only people too, but there is an understanding between them.

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