Suprasl Favorite Tips by evaanna
Suprasl Favorites: 2 reviews and 3 photos
Workshop of icon writer
Favorite thing: Icons are neither drawn nor painted - they are written. And not everybody can be an icon writer. First of all, you must be of Orthodox faith as writing an icon is a kind of prayer. You must also have a pure heart because it is believed that icons are painted by the Holy Ghost, even if they have their authors. When you are writing an icon you must be in a state of grace so most icon writers receive the Holy Communion every day.
The canon of icon writing is very strict - you must follow the same procedures that have been used for centuries, use the same symbolics and the same techniques. An icon is painted on a piece of board and linden wood is particularly recommended. There are special natural pigments that give the icon its bright colours. For instance, the strong yellow colour is obtained by applying arsenic. The number of colour layers is specified and the time between laying them as well. The eyes of the saint in the icon must look straight at you so that the faithful would want to pray to it.
In the Museum of Icons at Suprasl you can look into the workshop of an icon writer and watch the process of icon writing on a video. A fascinating spectacle!
The monks and their visitors
Fondest memory: While visiting new places, I always like to meet the local people who to me are even more important than the places they live in. Being shy, I don't like to disturb them in their daily lives so I rarely talk to them. But I have recently discovered that many of them don't mind talking to strangers and in eastern Poland they are especially friendly and outgoing.
Yet on a Sunday we couldn't hope to meet the monks at the Monastery of the Annunciation as they spend the day on prayers. On any other day of the week you could hope to meet them and be shown around the place if you manage to join a group of pilgrims.
Yet we were lucky at least to see them as the monks were just having visitors - a couple with a little girl, dressed in lovely folk (or perhaps ceremonial) clothes and the females wearing white scarves on their heads. I have no idea who they were but they may have been Belorussians or Ukrainians. They had only just arrived and got a warm welcome, and then went into the church, which we thought was closed. So Chris had a look in, too. The monks and their visitors seemed to be busy and the church was obviously still undergoing restoration as the walls were raw and there wasn't much inside. Next time we are there we will definitely go in and perhaps even manage to talk to the monks.
Mind you, visitors are expected to observe monastery silence between 2 and 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.- 10 a.m.
If you want to learn more about life at the monastery in Suprasl, visit their website:
Only Polish and German versions of the text are available though.
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