St. Matthew Orthodox Church installs iconic art

Dmitry Shkolnik painting icon at St. Matthew Orthodox Church in Green Bay, May 10, 2018 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- An art project which combines history, architecture and religion is taking shape on a wall inside a Green Bay church.

Like pieces in a giant puzzle, Dmitry Shkolnik temporarily arranged the parts on the floor of St. Matthew Orthodox Thursday morning.

"In a way, probably you can say, it's an artist," said Dmitry Shkolnik, Iconographer.

The Russian-born artist specializes in recreating religious figures used to adorn the insides of churches.

"What I am doing, it's very traditional Orthodox, Christian painting. And I try to follow the style and the step-by-step of the old masters," said Shkolnik.

St. Matthew leaders say the icons play a large role in the Orthodox Church.

"They are a proclamation of the gospel. But along with that, they represent our doctrinal teachings, and they are a source of spiritual inspiration," said Rev. Eugene Wozniak, St. Matthew Orthodox Church Priest.

Shkolnik created seven large canvas paintings in his California studio. His team will piece them together on the altar wall, including a seven-foot tall, Virgin Mary.

"He looked at the space, and he was able to just visualize, because of his skill and training just to visualize what it is that we needed here at St. Matthew," said Wozniak.

Using an acrylic paint mixture, Shkolnik did some initial touch-up work. Church leaders say they are impressed with the work so far.

"The icons are more beautiful than I could possibly imagine," said Wozniak.

Shkolnik says the work is rewarding on many levels.

"I'll try to do my best for God, and my conscience. And that's the most important thing for me," he said.

The project is expected to take a couple weeks.

Church leaders say they plan to add even more iconic art in the future.

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