Iconic artwork finished at St. Matthew Orthodox Church in Green Bay

Iconography complete at St. Matthew Orthodox Church in Green Bay Sunday, May 27, 2018. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Members at an area church are getting a new look at an art project which combines history, architecture and religion.

It's called iconography, and it fills the entire wall at St. Matthew Orthodox Church in Green Bay. Work began a couple weeks ago, and now, the project is complete.

A chorus of music filled the Sunday morning air. Candles brightly burned as Father Eugene Wozniak led his congregation in prayer. On the back wall, a new display towered tall behind the altar. Church members say they are impressed.

"The finished product is beyond anything I expected. It was just marvelous. My four year old walked in, when I pointed it out, she went ooh. He face got so big," said Sarah Tomac, Green Bay.

"In the displays, and all the photographs, what we were going to get, and you kind of look at it, and you say oh yeah, that will be really nice. And when it's actually here, live, it adds a whole other dimension to the worship space," said Will Morgan, Green Bay.

"Incredible. That was my first word. I was not able to see all the different stages of how Dmitry and his friend did it, but when I did see it, it was like wow," said Linlan Holzmancrass, Green Bay.

Russian-born artist Dmitry Shkolnik started the project a couple weeks ago. This iconography measures 24 feet high, and 32 feet across. At the top is the Virgin Mary.

"And then below that we have an icon we call we would call the Communion of the Apostles, where we have the apostles taking the precious body and blood of our lord," said Rev. Eugene Wozniak, St. Matthew Orthodox Church Priest.

Wozniak says icons are an essential part of the Orthodox Church.

"They are absolutely vital to our prayer life. They integrate our doctrines and our spiritual life, so intimately together," he said.

And as the Sunday service continued, church leaders say the icons enhance the experience.

"With these icons being installed now, we have transformed the spiritual life of the temple. We raised it to a new level," said Wozniak.

St. Matthew leaders say in the coming years, they plan to add even more iconic art to the walls of the church.

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