Recent and upcoming additions to our newly renovated chapel include
- the new Icon of Our Lady
- the new altar, installed in September (you can follow the link for more details)
- and a bell tower, coming soon!
Every Abbey church of our Order is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. This is reflected in our official title, the Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Cross. In the early centuries of our Order the only imagery permitted in our churches were the Crucifix and an image of our Lady—or Our Lady and St. John, if the figures flanked the Crucifix.
The new icon of Our Lady was just installed in our chapel this weekend, to the west of the tabernacle, just beyond the choir, now that the supporting framework is completed. The nearly image stands nearly four feet high and is painted on a gessoed panel in egg tempera and gold leaf, a free copy of a thirteenth-century Italo-Byzantine original, commissioned by Dom Joseph from and partially donated by artist Ann Chapin of Powhatan, Virginia. Ann’s work may be found in a number of churches in the area.
Everyone who has seen the icon is just drawn into its deep beauty and simplicity. There are details to illuminate the vision of divine motherhood when viewed up close while the simple, bold composition and colors make a strong impression from a distance.