Lichfield Cathedral to work with the Bethlehem Icon School

Wed, 20/04/2016 - 12:41

Lichfield Cathedral has commissioned the Bethlehem Icon School to create three new icons for the Cathedral, which will be displayed in the Nave.

Icons have been part of the Christian Church from a very early period, and are considered to be special paintings that can bring individuals closer to Christ. The icons for the Cathedral will represent the Archangel Gabriel and the Mother of Jesus to whom the Cathedral is dedicated, along with St Chad.

Two residential projects will take place in the summers of 2016 and 2017, when Ian Knowles, Director at the Bethlehem Icon School will bring students to Lichfield to create these works on site. They will engage with the community, and visitors to the Cathedral will be able to see them work.

The Cathedral will also be hosting workshops which will allow visitors to gain a better understanding of iconography, and of Christian culture and identity in the Middle East. The students from the Bethlehem Icon School will be given the opportunity to experience a different culture and find out more about life in the UK.

The Very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield says: “This is a really exciting and creative project. The Bethlehem Icon Centre is training young Palestinian artists in a form of Christian art that first began in the Holy Land.  Recently their training has been accredited by the Prince of Wales’ School of Traditional Arts and Skills. Our commission benefits the Bethlehem Centre by providing an important UK venue for its work but it links us in Lichfield with an unbroken form of Christian art that speaks engagingly and beautifully of the Christian Story. 

“As a place of pilgrimage and worship, I believe these icons will help all our Cathedral visitors to pray and get a glimpse of God’s generous love:  his invitation to align our lives with his. We also hope that by having the staff and students in Lichfield for the whole summer, local people can get to hear of the struggles people in Bethlehem face but also learn much from the students’ faith and resilience.”

To help raise funds for the icons, the Friends of Lichfield Cathedral will host a Classy Cast Off Sale on Saturday 23rd April, from 10am – 4pm, in College Hall in The Close. Members of the public are invited to come along, get their hands on some bargains and help to support the work of the Cathedral.

To find out more about the Cathedral’s upcoming services and events please visit