In Your Midst

A Meditation on Cathedral Art

July 2004

The life of our patron, Saint James the Greater, is wonderfully depicted in this icon, written by Cathedral iconographer Joan Brand-Landkamer.

Surrounding the central image of James are scenes from his life. Reading from left to right, we see James in the boat of his father Zebedee, and Christ, in the foreground, calling him to come and follow. Then James stands with the Lord and witnesses the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law (notice the wonderful detail of the striped coverlet on the bed!).

Back on the left hand side, we see the healing of Jairus’ daughter, where James is among the few admitted to the room as Christ raises the child from death. Next we see the mother of James and John asking that they be seated at Christ’s right and left in his kingdom: her vision is depicted in the sky over their heads.

The Transfiguration of Jesus is followed by his agony in the garden, where James lies sound asleep. In the bottom left hand corner James is beheaded; in true icon style, his haloed head is on his shoulders and simultaneously lies on the ground in front of him. Finally, in the last panel, we see James depicted on a banner as the “Moorslayer,” bearing a cross and sword.

In the central image, James wears sandals decorated with shells; look behind him to see images of Seattle—the Space Needle and Mt. Rainier!


Link to other articles in the July 2004 issue

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