by Geoffrey Rowell
I had not anticipated how interesting an experience having my portrait painted would be: focusing on a particular spot, with its own dynamic, or listening to Alex Debenham expound his theories of the importance of light in the eyes.
We determined that this should be a theological portrait. My hands hold a fine Victorian illuminated copy of the Book of Common Prayer, with my finger inserted at the Collect of the Feast of the Epiphany, which speaks of our longing for the prospect of ‘the fruition of thy glorious Godhead’, received in faith.
I am painted in cope and stole. The material was bought in the fine Syriac vestment store in the ‘street called Straight’ (Acts 9.11) in Damascus.
The pectoral cross was a gift from the Catholicos of the East of the Malankara Church (the Syrian Orthodox Church in India) at the time of his visit to Lambeth Palace, where I presided on Archbishop Justin’s behalf.
Behind the chair is my own gilded wooden crosier, which took its inspiration from Bishop William of Wykeham’s fourteenth-century crosier, which was last used by Bishop Falkner Allison of Winchester at my ordination to the priesthood in New College Chapel.
Also in the background is an icon of the Mother of God Hodegetria (she who points the way), pointing to her Son. This was lent at my request by my friend Deacon