Images can help one approach the divine in a certain manner and an exhibition of Greek icons in Birkirkara seeks to do just that.

“An icon is special because it is the fruit of prayer, fasting and meditation on the subject,” Fr Paul Darmanin, director of the Animation and Communication Centre, said.

“The iconographer goes through this process before writing such a work. We use the verb ‘to write’ not ‘paint’ because it is as if the iconographer is writing the gospel inspired by God. All icons have one message: they all lead to Christ, the Word and Master of the Universe,” he added.

The aim of the exhibition is to sensibilise and inform more people about this way of approaching the divine through images,” Fr Darmanin continued. He noted that people in Western culture were more used to baroque art and architecture, pointing out that the cult of icons started only recently in Malta. On display is a variety of classical and Macedonian icons, some of which were purposely brought over from Greece.

Various old icons adorn Maltese churches. One fine example is that of Our Lady of Damascus at the Greek Catholic Church in Valletta, which was brought to Malta by the Knights of Order of St John. Grand Master Jean de Valette is said to have been a fervent devotee of this Madonna.

The Atelier del Restauro yesterday held a talk on the restoration of the icon of Our Lady of Damascus and another will follow this evening. This will deal with the large 13th-century painted rood crucifix attributed to Margitone d’Arezzo, found at the Basilica of San Francesco in Arezzo.

The exhibition runs until Sunday at the Animation and Communication Centre foyer in S. Sommier Street, Birkirkara (behind St Francis church). Opening times: on Friday from 9am to 8.30pm, on Saturday from 9am to 2pm and from 4 to 7pm, and on Sunday from 10am to 3pm.

For more information, call 2149 8343 or send an e-mail to info@cakmalta.org.