Christine Thum Schlesser
Trinity Iconography Institute Director
Christine is a native Oregonian who spent every other summer with her grandparents in Germany, where her wish each visit was to see churches, castles, and anything ancient and eclectic. Love of antiquity and appreciation for art only intensified with each visit. The moment she entered the Russian department at Willamette University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Studies, Russian and German, she was captivated by her professor’s icons, not realizing that icons in the traditional style were still being written in these times. After an executive and then entrepreneurial career with her physician-inventor husband, Christine recently became a student again, pursuing her Masters Degree in Sacred Art with a specialization in Iconography.
Arrival at Trinity:
Christine has been studying traditional egg tempera iconography with Master Iconographer, Fr. Jon Buffington since 2017 at Trinity.
Dating to the 1700s, Christine’s family of Volga German weavers & and knitters produced luxury textiles in imperial Russia. Knitting, embroidery, lace, goldwork, and creating ecclesiastical finery is in her DNA! One of the most eclectic international celebrities in the world, the Maestro of Bissou, hosted Christine for three days on a tiny, remote island off Sardinia to share the process from start to finish of creating and blessing (in Aramaic) Byssus, one of the oldest sacred fibers in the world. Chiara Vigo dives in ocean waters according to the lunar calendar under police protection to harvest filamentous hair from the Pina nobilis clam, an endangered species. She is the last “water woman” in the world to practice this ancient prayerful art of spinning sacred gold thread from the hair of this clam, believed to have been the gleaming fabric of the Golden Fleece, robes of pharaohs, kings, and popes for thousands of years!