Featured Icons – St. Rose of Lima

The life of St. Rose of Lima is filled with grotesque physical penances that scandalize us today.  Traditional images of her have focused on her asceticism rather than aspects of her life that might speak to us.  After carefully rereading traditional biographies, Brother Robert realized that her abusive childhood had much to do with the… Read more »

Featured Icons – St. Catherine of Siena

St. Catherine of Siena stands out among other canonized women because she successfully navigated the turbulent waters of Church politics in an age when respectable women stayed within the walls of their homes or convents. She refused to marry a man her parents had chosen and cut off her hair to settle the issue. Rather… Read more »

Featured Icons – St. John XXIII of Rome

At the heart of the Franciscan movement are the Gospels, a challenge to live the Gospels as honestly and simply as possible. So seldom do people live this way that when they do the world takes special note. Pope John XXIII lived the Gospels. When he was elected pope he helped bring new life to… Read more »

Featured Icons – Martin Luther King of Georgia

When Robert left cloistered life after 18 years, he discovered that he’d missed a lot. The world had changed. As he set forth on his personal journey to catch up, the people he encountered encouraged him to paint an icon of Martin Luther King. The idea stretched him in various ways, first of all because… Read more »


Once, long ago, St. Nicholas and St. John Cassian left heaven to walk through Russia. They passed through Moscow, with its magnificent churches and palaces, and wandered the Russian forests and steppes. It was spring, and the ground was beginning to thaw. As they rounded a bend in the road, they came upon a peasant… Read more »

Featured Icons – Christ of Maryknoll

This icon, Christ of Maryknoll, was created when Br. Robert was living in Albuquerque, NM – a common destination for immigrants coming from the south. It shows Christ on one side of a barbed wire fence, looking longingly at the other side. Have we put up the fence and imprisoned Christ? Or have we imprisoned… Read more »

Transcendence: icon subjects through time

Robert’s icons span a wide spectrum, from completely traditional Orthodox images to images created for Native American, Black, or Asian peoples. Because he is best known for his innovative icons, people might be surprised to learn that his favorite images are actually traditional Orthodox icons. In traditional Orthodox iconography, icons are carefully painted according to… Read more »

Episode 6 – Transcendence

Though Br. Robert was trained in traditional Greek iconography, some of his work has taken iconography in new directions. The icons that Br. Robert paints are, in his own words, “a new kind of icon.” They are not Eastern Orthodox icons, but rather a new genre that he hopes will help revitalize sacred art in… 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 »