2 May 2010
When worshippers go to Catholic churches across America during 2010, they may be surprised to see Coptic iconography on the front cover of the missal books used for liturgical services. The icon depicts the Last Supper (and first Eucharist) and was painted by the world renowned Coptic iconographer Dr. Isaac Fanous (1909-2007). The Catholic Missal acknowledges the source of the icon: the Holy Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox Church in Los Angeles. This edition of the missal, Breaking Bread 2010, is widely used at Catholic churches in the United States. It is published by OCP in Portland, Oregon (www.ocp.org/products).
Fanous revived features of ancient Egyptian art to create a unique and contemporary form of Coptic iconography. Through his active participation in painting churches of the Coptic diaspora in America, he created iconic works of Coptic art that have justly earned global appreciation.
Besides expressing the spirit of ecumenism of the Catholic Church in the United States, this publication is also a testimony to the distinction of Coptic art in general and Isaac Fanous’s iconography in particular. Southern California is fortunate that the walls of six of its Coptic Orthodox Churches have been painted by the great master iconographer. Reprints of these icons can be obtained from www.theotokos.org.