New Zealand's Sacred Monastery of the Holy Archangels gets its icons

The images on the walls inside the monastery are starting to take shape. Photo: Warwick Smith / Stuff.

The Sacred Monastery of the Holy Archangels in Levin, New Zealand is in the process of having its walls covered in religious icons, reports.

For the past two years iconographer Maria Pagu, a Romanian woman who is Greek Orthodox, has been painting icons inside the church.

The first thing you notice when you look up is a depiction of Jesus Christ, the Christ Pantocrator, on the small dome at the top of the church.

The lower walls of the church are yet to be painted, but Ms Pagu has been making her way down.

“This is a conservation job, it’s something we create new. This is like my baby,” Ms Pagu told

The iconographer was asked by members of the church in Levin to help with the painting and now the abbot of the monastery, Father Meletios Pantic, says he’s grateful to finally see the icons on the walls.

An Icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, in the cultures of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, the Roman Catholic, and certain Eastern Catholic churches

They are not simply artworks; "an icon is a sacred image used in religious devotion". The most common subjects include Christ, Mary, saints and angels. Although especially associated with portrait-style images concentrating on one or two main figures, the term also covers most religious images in a variety of artistic media produced by Eastern Christianity, including narrative scenes, usually from the Bible or the lives of saints.