women. Graduates of St Tikhon's become priests, icon-restorers, teachers, workers in social institutions such as orphanages, choir directors and Sunday School directors - and some become teachers in the Institute. This vibrant and burgeoning institution demonstrates the growth of educational demand and provision among Orthodox Christians and provides a pool of recruits for service within the church.18 Similar initiatives have sprung up in other Orthodox countries, such as the Sunday School Movement in Egypt and Ethiopia. All Orthodox churches value education and the empowerment of lay members of the church and are equipping a growing number of articulate and committed church members to carry out the mission and teaching work of the church.
An essential component of any account of modern Orthodox spirituality is the revival in the devotion to icons. Following a period in the nineteenth century when icons were often painted in a westernised naturalistic style, modern icon-painters have sought to recover the styles and forms of Byzantine painting. Painters such as Gregory Krug and Leonid Uspensky in the Russian diaspora, Photis Kontoglou in Greece, Father Zinon in Russia and Pavel Aksenteje-vic in Serbia are among those who have demonstrated the possibility of a vibrant contemporary expression within traditional Byzantine forms. Icons belong within an ecclesiastical system, and form part of Orthodox worship. But they have also become popular in many parts of the Christian world, and images such as that of the Vladimir Mother of God are widely reproduced. This growth of interest in icons suggests that Orthodox spirituality and devotion have contributed to modern Christianity far beyond traditional Orthodox lands. Traditionalists may regret the removal of icons from their proper liturgical setting, but their wide diffusion has led to a deeper appreciation of Orthodoxy, which has in turn helped to integrate it into modern religious society.
The Orthodox Church has responded to the challenges and opportunities offered by new political freedom with dramatic results. In 1990 there were in Russia eighteen monasteries, three theological schools and forty churches in Moscow. Ten years later these institutions had grown so that there were 500 monasteries, over fifty theological schools and 300 churches in Moscow. The numbers have continued to rise. The totality of church tradition developed in the Byzantine period provided a coherent and varied system of spirituality, which could be easily appropriated. Its concrete expression in architectural
18 I am grateful to Julia Klushina and Natalia Koulkova, teachers at St Tikhon's, for introducing me to their institute.
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