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Sister Eliseea Papacioc - Exhibition of Religious Icons

  • Williamsburg Art Gallery 440A West Duke of Gloucester Street Williamsburg, VA, 23185 United States (map)
Sister Eliseea Papacioc iconography

Williamsburg Art Gallery will host an exhibition of the work of Sister Eliseea Papacioc, an Orthodox nun from Romania who is also a world-renowned iconographer. Her work has been featured at the Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Art and the Vatican.

Sister Eliseea will give a presentation at the opening on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 11:00am. Admission is free and refreshments will be served. This exhibition will continue through October 16, 2017.


Sister Eliseea is an amazing woman, especially if you know her background. Her childhood was one of crushing oppression under the Communist regime. Her father, an Orthodox priest, did not survive imprisonment and her uncle, a bishop, had his health broken. She, her mother and her brother endured severe ostracism and deprivation.

After the fall of communism and the rebirth of the church and the arts she was discovered by the Smithsonian and brought to America for her first visit. Then, crossing denominational lines she had several exhibits at the John Paul II Cultural Center. When Father Kauffmann was pastor at Saint Benedict’s Church in Richmond, he commissioned Sister Eilseea to create two icons for the ambo. In Sister Eliseea's icons, faith and talent are in communion with each other. Her gifts, however, are distinct from her faith. Were she not in religious life, not an iconographer, whatever she turned her attention to would be extraordinary. She has an eye for the subtleties of surface quality and a remarkable hand.

When her work recently returned from the international tour a New York critic, Maureen Mullarkey observed, "Sister Eliseea eclipses pious sentiment and rises to compelling sacred art. She is not a copyist, not merely replicating older work. Rather, she inhabits the icon tradition infusing historic patterns with a quality of concentrating precision, and refinement distinctly her own. It is said that to write an icon is like standing in prayer. Looking at her work you trust the truth of these words."

440A W Duke of Gloucester Street, Williamsburg, VA 23185
(757) 565-9680

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