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Restored Icon Blessed in SF

On June 12, Pentecost Sunday, during the festal procession, Bishop Benjamin blessed the newly restored icon of Christ “Not Made By Hands,” for Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco

Michael von Meyer, who wrote the original icon sometime in the 1960s, was born in Odessa, Russia on June 10, 1894. After witnessing the execution of his family, Von Meyer fled his native land during the revolution. Making his way via Japan, he settled in San Francisco in 1924 and enrolled at the CSFA. During the 1930s he created work for the WPA and in the 1940s taught at the CCAC. Although born an aristocrat, he died penniless in San Francisco at Laguna Honda Hospital on Nov. 24, 1984.

Damaged by the fire of Pascha in 1998, the icon which had graced the Cathedral for decades was taken down and placed into storage until it could be repaired. It was not the first time that the icon had been missing from that side of the Cathedral which faces Van Ness Avenue and Green Street. At some time during the 1980s, after having been damaged by years of direct sunlight and moisture, the icon underwent its first restoration at the hands of an unknown artist.

The latest restoration was undertaken by master iconographer Nicholas Tsai, who in the 1990s, when he was in his 30s, used to pass by the original icon regularly, as he lived only four blocks away from the Cathedral. Drawn by the icon into the Cathedral and eventually to Orthodoxy, Nicholas received Holy Chrismation on Holy Saturday, 1997 and has been a member of Holy Trinity Cathedral ever since. With Dmitry Shkolnik as his teacher and mentor, Nicholas has completed two iconostases for Alaska (Fairbanks and Eklutna) and the Christ Pantocrator for St. Nicholas Church in San Anselmo, California in addition to many individual icons.

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