More than two years ago an icon-painting workshop-school housed in the Alexander Nevsky Cloister was established and consecrated in the honour of St John of Damascus.
As it is well known, icon-painting is a most important traditional branch in Russian spiritual and art culture. Icon-painting was used as a means of depicting religious and state leaders canonized by the church as well as for the illumination of scenes from the Bible and the Gospels. As one of celebrated Russian icon-painters Simon Ushakov put it, the image depicted on an icon is "the life of a memory, the memory of those who have gone before us, a testimony of the past extolling the virtuous, an expression of might, the resurrection of the dead, eternal prase and glory, a means of arousing the living to imitation of the pious, and a reminiscence of bygone deeds".
Nowadays, parallel with renassence of the Orthodox Church in Russia, ecclesiastic arts are also being restored to life, this complicated process being impossible without true spirituality and veneration.
In order to preserve the old cultural traditions, the invaluable heritage of the past, and to create new icons, the newly formed icon-painting workshop is intended for training highly skilled specialists - masters of restoration and icon-painting. To fulfil this task, specialists from the St Petersburg Academy of Arts whose interests lie in the field of ancient Russian painting and its restoration have gathered together under the roof of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. Their rich experience has become a basis for the training of professionals among the monks as well as many other Orthdox laymen blessed for this activity. Level of the working process in the Lavra's workshop proved to be high enough for students of the Ecclesiastic-historical department of the Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture named after I. Ye. Repin to work on probation here.
At present time, the icon-painting school of the St Trinity Alexander Nevsky Lavra has gathered experience in icon-painting, restoring ancient icons, making icon-cases, icon-shields, etc. At the workshop it is also possible for those studying icon-painting to work on probation, terms and conditions of the study being chosen by the probationers.
Besides the icon-painting workshop, within the precincts of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra the following workshops are functioning now as well: the sewing, the joiner's, the baguette-making and galvanic ones.