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Madonna and Child

Christmas, Icons


Madonna and Child



Date of Issue

October 27, 1988




Postal Administration



Christmas, Icons

Series Time Span


Perforation or Dimension



Ashton-Potter Limited.


Designed by Ernst Roch. Designed by Tom Yakobina.

About Stamp

Icons are usually portable paintings on wood, although images may be found on murals, frescoes or mosaics. All portray holy figures or events. Icons are featured in this year's Christmas stamps in conjunction with the millenium of Christianity in the Ukraine. Icons are found in all parts of the Eastern Christian Church and play an important part in the celebration of the Liturgy. They are not meant to be realistic portraits, but are said to depict the spiritual rather than the physical. Their form is dictated by the Church. Some icons are even said to perform miracles. These icons, "not made by human hands", are thought to have been created by some mystical contact with the original person portrayed. The study of icons has been complicated by their fragile nature, and their systematic destruction by the Iconoclastic Movement dating from 726 to 843 A.D. The Iconoclasts were opposed to the veneration of images and destroyed many of these religious works of art. A legend dating back to the 6th or 7th century tells us that Luke, the Evangelist, was the first icon painter. Several panels in Italy, as well as the Orthodox world, are believed to have been faithfully executed copies of his work. Montreal graphic designer Ernst Roch designed these Christmas stamps. Each stamp depicts an icon from different tradition of the Eastern Church. The dark, rich colours, characteristic of religious images, are complemented by the addition of gold typography which helps to create a Christmas feeling. The icons on this years' Christmas stamps are reproduced with permission from: Dr. J.A. Foreman (32¢); Sign of the Theotokos Orthodox Church, Montreal (37¢); University of Toronto, The Malcove Collection (42¢); and Petit Musée, Montréal (74¢).
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Canada Post Corporation. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1988.

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