Editor’s note: Over the next four days we will be publishing four paintings by Silvia Dimitrova and four poems by Bishop Graham Kings expounding the paintings. These paintings form part of a series of seven paintings portraying women in the Bible, which Silvia and Graham are working on over 20 years.
Silvia Dimitrova is a Bulgarian icon writer based in Bath, England.
The four paintings and poems in the series so far are “Magdalene” (2003) in the garden with the risen Jesus; “Lydia” (2009) at Philippi with Paul; “Priscilla” (2013) at Ephesus with Aquila; and “Sarah” (2015) with Abraham at Mamre.
In the next few years, the remaining three to be completed are “Miriam” (with Moses), “Ruth” (with Boaz) and “Esther” (with Mordecai).
Who is this woman facing this man?
Head lightly inclined,
Eyes wide open, gazing;
Hands uplifted, palms upward, surprised;
Who is this man facing this woman?
Coming from the right,
Profile clear, bearded;
Hand outstretched, palm down;
Behind her, two angels hover
Reflecting her shape:
Behind him, scented trees lean
Setting the scene:
Below her, a dark opening hints.
All silent witnesses.
The eyes have it:
Focus of tension and attention.
One word awakes her: ‘Mary’.
One word responds: ‘Rabbouni’.
Their hands shape a triangle
At the centre of meeting:
Her two, shocked and suppliant;
His one, blessing, calming, sending.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Graham Kings (@MissioTheology) is Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion, a new post set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Durham University, and the Church Mission Society. His other posts are here.