St. Edward Mission Statement
Empowered by the Holy Spirit, and nourished by Word and Sacrament:
Reading the St. Edward Icon
The icon, entitled, “St. Edward and the Heavenly Bridegroom” was commissioned by Father Gary Zerr, with great pastoral insight and generosity, to help commemorate the 40th anniversary of St. Edward Parish in Keizer, Oregon.
St. Edward, who died in 1066, was the last Anglo-Saxon King of England. The Bayeus Tapestry, which tells the story of the Norman conquest, is the most authentic source for the iconography of St. Edward — that is where the artist went to find the type of clothing and style of beard the saint wore.
Here, St. Edward symbolizes the parish community of St. Edward — the Lord, the Heavenly Bridegroom has appeared and is seen acknowledging the parish’s generous service, both to the wider community through its good works, as well as by its sacrifice of worship and praise to God. The ring is the emblem of these sacrifices — and here it takes on a nuptial connotation. By its faithfulness, the community has become one with Christ.
The deep green background symbolizes Heavenly Wisdom. So does the blue of Christ’s outer garment. The inner garment is red, which connotes the flesh, or Christ’s Sacred Humanity. So Christ’s humanity is wrapped in Divinity. The golden stripes on the Lord’s inner robe suggest royalty — He is the Son of David. (In Hellenistic times, the color of the stripes on one’s tunic indicated the social class — slave, free, commoner, nobility, royalty.)
Christ’s iconography is unique in that he is the only one whose halo has a cruciform within it. On the arms of the cross are Greek abbreviations meaning “I AM”. On either side of the Lord’s halo we see “Jesus Christ” abbreviated with the Greek IC XC.
Because He is the Word of God, Jesus is shown holding the scroll. In biblical times scrolls were made of parchment — animal skins. So Christ, God in human flesh, has God’s Word written upon him. The parish community of St. Edward lives in and under the word.
Finally, the parish community, invited to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, is wearing the appropriate garment — white — washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb.