Editor’s note:  We are currently 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 (published yesterday); “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).


Lydia

Who is this woman?
Slender in purple,
Approaching the river,
Head demure,
Hands across
Heart secure.

Who are these women?
Accompanying her,
Tumbling, cascading,
Following her gaze,
Slightly perplexed,
Subtly amazed.

Who is this man?
Bearded, intriguing,
Joining the women,
Gorgeous in vesture,
Gently announcing
Greeting in gesture.

By the river of Philippi,
They sat down and met
And sang the songs of Zion,
Outside the gate of the
Greek city, Roman colony.

Lydia, with friends and household,
Dealer in purple, in business astute,
From Thyatira in Asia Minor,
Gentile worshipping God of the Jews.

Paul, with friends, Silas and Luke,
Following a vision of Asia Minor,
Meets a woman of Macedonia,
The Good News comes to Europa.

With hearts open to the cross of Christ,
They pass through the river of baptism,
To enter the joy of the Kingdom.
Like trees planted by the waterside,
They bring forth their fruit in due season.

16 Feb 2016, St Cuthman’s, Coolham. On a painting by Silvia Dimitrova and Acts 16.

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.

About The Author

The Rt. Rev. Graham Kings (@GrahamRKings) is Honorary Assistant Bishop of Southwark, parish priest at St. Matthew’s at the Elephant, London, and an honorary fellow of Durham University.

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