Dom Alex Echeandía
Since 1999 I have been a Benedictine Monk of the Monastery of the Incarnation in Lima, Peru. It is the daughter House of Belmont Abbey, Hereford, UK, where I have lived for the last five years, while I read Theology at Blackfriars, Oxford until June 2014. I was ordained deacon in December 2012 at the abbey and I was ordained priest in Peru on 18th October 2014.
I began training as an iconographer in Guatapé, Medellin, Colombia, where I spent six months of my initial formation as a monk in 2002. Then, back in Peru I continued my formation as monk and iconographer. I went to the UK in 2005 and 2006 for courses in Iconography under Sister Petra Clare and Aidan Hart in Scotland and England, respectively.
Then, I joined the Icon and Wall-Painting Course run by the Prince´s School of Traditional Art, led by Aidan Hart, to improve and develop my understanding of icons, especially of frescoes. I am a member of the British Association of Iconographers.
In July 2013 I went to Ukraine to learn a new technique, a combination of the softness of the Russian tradition and the bold strokes of the Greek. I now make use of both techniques to express the development of culture and theology that they represent.
As a Benedictine Monk, the Liturgy of the Hours and the Sacraments define and direct my life in an endless cycle of Ora et Labora (RB 48). Writing icons has come to symbolize this way of life for me. It is a combination of monastic life and iconography that defines me as a Christian.
At the moment I am working on icons for commissions in the UK as well as in Peru. I have had a lifelong love for iconography, and have worked full time as a professional iconographer since 2006. It is with thanksgiving to God and gratitude to my instructors, monastic community, friends and benefactors that I am able to share with you the spirit of iconography as part of God´s continuing expression of love for His people.