Episode 11 – Martin de Porres

For centuries St. Martin de Porres has held a broom in religious images to emphasize his humility. Since there are so few canonized Black saints, emphasizing his humility at the expense of his other accomplishments has deprived Black Catholics, and especially children, of the positive role model he might be in their lives today. Brother… Read more »

Episode 10 – Maria Skobtsova

What happened in the Byzantine East in the first centuries of Christian history has never yet been surpassed. Greek, Egyptian, and Syrian theologians found ways to unfold the mystery of Christ that challenge and nourish believers even today. It was a time of exciting intellectual debate and growth. By the end of the first millennium,… Read more »

Episode 9 – Franciscan Seraph

An essential element in the icons Brother Robert creates comes from his Franciscan roots. While each of his icons has Franciscan qualities, his Seraph on a rusted trashcan lid is completely Franciscan. Seraphim are the highest rank of angels, whose only task is to praise God ceaselessly. Depicting something as exalted as a Seraph on… Read more »

Episode 8 – Jesus Christ Liberator

When Br. Robert was asked to create an icon of Christ as an African American in 1983, he at first refused because of his Orthodox training. The insistence of the man who asked him, however, led him to a prayerful wrestling with Gospel accounts of Christ’s resurrection, other texts from the New Testament, and examples… Read more »

A Brief History of Iconography

Thirty years ago the word icon had a very specific meaning.  It referred exclusively to the religious art of the Orthodox Churches of the East.  Today the word is used for many other objects, ranging from famous movie stars to computer shortcuts for opening an application.  When the word refers to religious art, however, it… Read more »

Episode 4 – Iconography

From an early age, Robert has been fascinated with what happens to ordinary human beings when they allow themselves to be touched by God. For him, iconography is a privileged way to depict this. The art of iconography goes back almost sixteen centuries, forming part of the tradition that continues to nourish Christianity. Though he… Read more »

Learning: Chilean coup d’état

In the video on learning, Robert discusses a trip to Chile that had a profound effect on his life. The state of unrest in Chile and the responses of those he trusted left Robert doubting many things he thought he knew. The unrest in Chile that Robert experienced was right in the middle of a… Read more »

Episode 3 – Learning

Robert is a lifelong student and learner, but certain moments in his life resonate as particularly edifying. In 1980, Robert was sent to Chile to work in a Russian Orthodox orphanage in Santiago. The hope was that he would become a priest for the orphanage and the nuns who lived with the orphans. Instead, Robert… Read more »

Robert’s Politics: A Defense of the “Loyal Opposition”

In the video Robert’s Politics, Robert theorizes that one cannot fully be a Christian without being political. The idea that Christianity and politics are intertwined is consistent in both his work and in his faith. Robert’s icons showcase a dichotomy of religious and secular figures; holy people whose political impact on their world promoted Gospel… Read more »

Episode 2 – Politics

Robert believes that Christianity and politics are inextricably entwined. He has been accused of trying to push a political agenda with his work, however Robert maintains that Christianity has always been political and, in fact, one cannot be a Christian without being political. From choosing to follow or challenge the status quo to fighting for… Read more »