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Editor’s note: We are 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 two days ago); “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).


Who is this woman?
Pure eyes, profoundly rounded,
Beautiful face, honourably tilted,
Open hands releasing dove.

Who is this man?
Noble head, bearded attractive,
Working hands, intently attentive.
Inclined together, touching love.

Who are these men?
Weighing a letter, ponderingly,
Carrying a scroll, inscrutably,
Trees and windows hovering above.

Four converge on Ephesus,
Silver shrine of Artemis,
Expound the Word of God
And form a church at home in love.

Priscilla and Aquila,
Refugees from Roman Emperor,
Host to Paul at Corinth and Ephesus,
Fellow workers in Christ and canvas,
More accurately explain the Way
To the Jew of Alexandria.

Apollos, eloquent and scriptural,
Burning and enthusing,
Knowing now the Holy Spirit,
Crosses over to Corinth
And causes chaos. Perhaps,
Composes letter to Hebrews?

Paul writes to church at Corinth,
Settling contending leaders.
Paul sows, Apollos waters,
God gives the growth.
Ironically, rhetorically,
Cross empties eloquence.

Priscilla and Aquila return to Rome,
Hosting body of Christ in their home.


17 Feb 2016, at St Cuthman’s, Coolham. On a painting by Silvia Dimitrova and Acts 18.

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.


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