"St. Sabbas the Sanctified", acrylic on canvas, Stamatis Skliris, 2022

"St. Sabbas the Sanctified", acrylic on canvas, Stamatis Skliris, 2022

The iconographic depiction of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified, the venerable ascetic who once graced the arid landscapes of Palestine and the Jordan desert, is a masterful homage to the undying spirit of Byzantine artistry and its spiritual profundities. This portrayal of Saint Sabas, redolent with the distinct ethos of the transformed human, becomes a beacon of ascetic transcendence and spiritual refinement.

The visage, bathed in serene luminescence, resonates with the profound calm of a spirit that has transcended earthly tumults. Those eyes, pure and unshadowed by transient desires, lock the viewer in a penetrating gaze that is reflective and inviting, urging us toward the mysteries of ascetic evolution and soulful metamorphosis.

The finesse of Byzantine craftsmanship is unmistakably present in this Stamatis painting, staying true to the revered canons of iconography. The meticulous delineation of Saint Sabbas' features evokes the depth of his sanctity, portraying a face that has communed intimately with the divine.

In juxtaposition, the austerity of his garb, rendered with eloquent simplicity, stands as a silent testament to the profound truth that spiritual affluence is often found amid material restraint. This juxtaposition amplifies the timeless message that spiritual ascendancy is less about external grandeur and more about a deep-seated communion with the divine.

The entire composition eloquently heralds the commitment of those who consecrate their existence to Christ. Saint Sabas, the luminary behind the Mar Saba Monastery, emerges as a symbolic lodestar, testifying to Christ's central role in every ascetical sojourn and the human soul's intrinsic quests. This portrayal beckons the observer to meditate upon the lasting allure of asceticism and the limitless potential of divine-human synergy.

With this icon, Fr. Stamatis Skliris epitomizes the ethos of heroic anthropology. The clarity in the saint's gaze, free from the smog of passion, signifies a being who has weathered the rigors of spiritual warfare, emerging passionless and purified, poised to engage with humanity with unparalleled equanimity.

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