An Iconostasis for Blind and Poor-sighted Children to be Unveiled in Lipetsk
A house-church with a special, three-dimensional wood iconostasis will be opened for the next school year in the Lipetsk specialized (correctional) general education boarding-school of the III-IV type for blind and poor-sighted children reports Blagovest-info with reference to the information agency Lipetsk Regional News. “The uniqueness of the iconostasis is in the fact that the icons will be adapted for the students of the school-they will be crafted in 3-D so that the students can by touch distinguish the images of the saints and the inscriptions in Braille, understandible to poor-sighted and blind people,” said Vice-Principal Elena Demekhova. Bishop Nikon of the Lipetsk and Eletsk Diocese gave a blessing for the church to be named in honor of Great-Martyr Panteleimon (patron of health services). “Work on the erecting of the church will be carried out through the course of the year on the schools funds, and woodwork will be done by teachers of the school Nikolai Neklyaev and Alexander Belyaev. The priciple material for the iconostasis is linden,” explained the vice-principal.
Demekhova remarked that this is not the first time that the school has worked with the diocese, as, by the children’s request are meetings with clerics and a choir for church singing has been formed. “Currently the correctional school has 333 students,” she added. The director of the school, Igor Batishchev, has been named a National Teacher of the Russian Federation. A few years ago the department for religious education and catechism of the Nizhny Novgorod Diocese organized a program for the spiritual nourishment of the blind. Icon carver Roman Baturin became the director of the program.
At one time Roman Baturin was the only craftsman in Russia producing icons for the blind. These icons differ from typical icons in that they are created in the form of a bas-relief. The blind can “see” such icons with their hands. In order to give the effect of ancientness, he soaks the wood in tea, coffee, and iodine. About two years ago [sic] the successful artist rejected earthly goods and began to lead an ascetic type of life. Having left his prestigious work, he returned to Nizhny Novgorod and began to carve 3D icons on wood for the blind. His acquaintanceship with Irina Sumarokova, chairman of the Nizhny Novgorod society for the blind and author of the international project for the blind The World on the Tips of the Fingers. In 2000, the work of Roman Baturin was blessed by Nikolai (Kutepov, +2002), metropolitan of Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamas. At the begginning of 2006, a icon workshop was opened in Nizhny Novgorod for the creation of relief icons for blind people. (Russkaya Liniya)