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The Tree of Life: Holy Spirit


 I was a landscape architect in Bulgaria, and my love for trees led me to discover the Tree of Life, a symbol found in many cultures. Bulgarian church woodcarvings inspired to some extent this Tree of Life. The Tree of Life existed in the Garden of Eden to bestow eternal life and communion with God from the beginning of times (Gen. 2:9) unto eternity (Rev.22:2). Its fruits provide nourishment, and its leaves - healing of the nations. St. Ephraim the Syrian envisioned and interpreted it as the curtain before the Holy of Holies, where God presides. Church Fathers personified the Tree of Life as Christ, as the source of life, and the Cross as becoming that Tree of Life, transforming itself from an dead piece of wood and instrument of punishment into a blossoming Tree that provides eternal life and healing.

The Tree of Life symbol brings us to the very basis of human life in its relation to God and the Creation. Fruitful as the work is, each piece required months of conceptual development. This piece required three months, finished the day before my father died. It grew gradually from the central trunk to become an altar, then a candelabra, and then into branches pointing upward and nesting the Holy Spirit. The Spirit, as a Dove of Peace, pollinates symbolically the blossoms to become the fruits of the Spirit. The piece depicted here is very precious to me, because I associate it with my father's blessing just before his death. I felt compelled to complete the Tree by adding the root system and two peacocks - symbols of immortality. Then, the tree bloomed and produced fruits. God granted that my father see and bless it before he passed. The Tree of Life with the Holy Spirit has become the thematic title of a new series of these illuminations.


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