St. Brendan the Navigator
Saint Brendan the Navigator (c. 486-c. 575) was probably born near Tralee, became a monk and eventually an abbot. He founded four or five Monastic foundations mostly in Ireland, but also in Scotland and Wales. From the ninth century, his cult was strong in those countries as well as in Brittany.
Like many Irish monks, Brendan was well traveled but very few details about his life can be asserted with certainty. Beyond his voyages and trips to Scotland, Wales and Brittany we are not sure if he ventured further. Romances of the tenth and eleventh centuries seemed to have transformed Brendan into, among other things, a sailor who tackled the Atlantic Ocean and made his way with fourteen other monks to the Azores or even beyond and returned home unscathed.
This icon of Saint Brendan the Navigator was painted on wood by Susan Gigliotti Innocenzi in 2011 and is on display in the narthex.
Susan writes this:
"Having come from sailing and boating roots and being a keen traveler, I look to Saint Brendan as one who inspires me to move about the world to discover this beautiful planet God has created and to learn that all God’s children are alike and yet different. Travel opens our minds to embrace the world’s realities much like Saint Brendan’s Episcopal Church in its twenty-five year journey has reached out with open hearts and minds to welcome all people.
Icons, such as this one of Saint Brendan I painted, are sacred images originally associated with Eastern Orthodoxy. Iconographers pray while painting and thus icons are “prayers made visible”. Icons are examples of Christian art but they are also devotional tools. As we gaze upon icon we are invited into the spiritual space where we can be more fully with God.
Technically speaking, Icons look strange to our Western eyes because they are painted in one dimension without shadows or perspective. That is because they are painted from God’s perspective from within the painting rather than the viewer’s perspective. Their large eyes engage viewers and draw them in. The colors, postures and symbols pictured have significance and are there to help teach Church tenets and biblical concepts.
I pray you all find comfort in Saint Brendan."