Many thanks to everyone - from near and far - who contributed so generously to Ashley's* leaving gifts. (Those of you who contributed from afar were mentioned in name on the card that he received from us)
For your interest, here is a picture of the icon that Ashley received from us all, with text below from Regan O'Callaghan (the iconographer):
The Pantokrator (The All-Mighty) is an icon of the Creator, the Saviour and the Judge. His face reveals his divine and human nature. With eyes wide open He looks directly at us. His mouth is small - a reminder to us to use our mouths only when necessary! His ears are revealed to indicate he is listening to us. The two piece robe he wears symbolises heaven (crimson) and (green) earth. His right hand is raised in blessing while in the other he holds the jewelled book of the gospels which is closed to indicate that within Christ is the whole story, the beginning and the end. The halo symbolises a sanctified and enlightened state, the gold the eternal light of heaven. There are no shadows in icons as eternal light permeates all things. The Greek letters inside the halo translate as the one who is while the lettering outside are the first and last letters of Jesus Christ. To the bottom left hand corner is a spiral the koru a maori symbol based on a unfolding fern frond and symbolising continuity and eternal life. The star at the top recalls the star from the nativity. Christ speaks of himself as the 'light of the world' (John 8: 12). All who come near this light are transformed, redeemed and illuminated.
* Ashley served as Verger and Head Verger for almost 18 years until he left in July 2015