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  • Stuart Holley

New Icon of the Prophet Anna Created at Malling Abbey


A beautiful new icon of the Prophet Anna, from whom Anna Chaplaincy takes its name, has been created by a nun of the Benedictine Community at Malling Abbey in Kent. BRF have permission to use the icon and can grant permission to others who would like to use it. We asked about the process of creating the icon and Mother Anne, abbess at the Abbey, told us:


‘I painted the icon in traditional egg tempera technique on a wooden board coated with gesso. I used eggs from hens that were raised on the Abbey estate by the Pilsdon-at-Malling community to mix the pigments for painting. This is a technique that has been used since the earliest Christian centuries for producing images to be used in churches and prayer spaces. As Peter Murphy, an English icon painter puts it about icons in churches:


“Iconography is a language that attempts to convey the eternal now, the eternal present, representing all Gods friends and champions throughout time and history, in the eternal glory of his presence, worshipping along with us the current congregation.”


We see our creations as an expression of the life of the whole community so the appropriate way to credit it, for those who would like to use the icon, is: "Painted by a nun of the Benedictine Community at Malling Abbey."


I would be pleased to know where the icon is being used and to have copies of any materials produced. It would be lovely to pray for those who use the icon, and we also like to keep archives of any publications using work produced here.


I'm so pleased that the Anna icon will be used more widely than just here at the Abbey and that it will provide us with a prayerful connection with the Anna Chaplaincy work.’


Malling Abbey is a special place for Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends in Rochester Diocese as it is home to the diocesan retreat centre St Benedicte’s, as well as the theological training college St Augustine’s. Anna Chaplaincy training is held regularly at St Benedicte’s. Study days are held there, including two events with Canon James Woodward, principle of Sarum College, and author of books on ageing and dementia which have been foundational to Anna Chaplaincy; members of the community participated in these study days and Canon James stayed in a guestroom at the Abbey.


In July 2019, the Anna Chaplaincy team in Rochester Diocese organised a retreat for carers of people with dementia at St Benedicte’s which provided a wonderfully therapeutic environment. The community prays for groups as they meet at St Benedicte’s and visitors are welcome to join them in the chapel for their daily offices.


You can learn more about Malling Abbey here - Malling Abbey | Anglican Benedictine Nuns | Home

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