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Elias Damianakis

Elias is available to speak on: Orthodox Icons, Byzantine and Orthodox Architecture, History of Christian Art. Learn more »

Additional Information: Icon StudioThe Icon Fund | Pan-Orthodox Iconographers Association of America


Elias DamianakisElias Damianakis is an accomplished and renowned Orthodox Iconographer and presenter. He has offered firsthand knowledge and theological insight into the mystical and spiritual understanding of iconography for years. He has lectured in museums and universities from throughout the United States and Abroad. His iconography is found in dozens of churches, private collections around the world and has been featured in dozens of articles about iconography.

Elias was a skillful artisan before he began his twelve year training as an apprentice for the traditional old world Iconographic techniques. Seeking traditional art training Elias studied at several universities in the United States including: C. W. Post College of Fine Arts 1981-82, Parsons School of Design 1982-3, F.I.T. (Fashion Institute of technology in NY) 1983-84, Queens College (Byzantine Studies) 1984-86 but not finding the ancient artistic traditions of Orthodoxy Elias ventured to Europe and collaborated, consulted and trained with many theologians, artists and iconographers abroad. Elias spent many months at a time tutoring in Europe with the leading old world master artists in private studios and at various monasteries, splitting his time between Europe and the United States.

Elias through the years has made extensive trips for study and pilgrimage to Greece, Turkey, France, Yugoslavia, England and Italy. His studies in Greece were detailed taking him throughout the ‘four corners’ of Greece. These travels are not merely vacations but spiritual odysseys, venerating and meditating on holy individuals, places and events.

Three particular pilgrimages are noteworthy in 2000 during the Patriarchal Millenium synod as a delegate, in 2004 the momentous “Return of the Holy Relics” of Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Gregory the Theolgian and in 2006 for the Historic visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict to the Patriarchate. As a pilgrim, a student of Byzantine Art or as an official delegate representing the Orthodox of America Elias has a strong commitment to the Mother Church of Orthodoxy and the Holy Patriarchate of Constantinople.

In 1991 Elias established his own iconography studio blending his fine artistic talents with the discipline and humble work of iconography. He adheres to strict Orthodox prototypes. While he examines the traditional prototypes in study and prayer, assimilating this analysis into his iconography, rendering anew with exceptional beauty and warmth. The same may be said for genuine Byzantine masters of old who, while faithful and respectfully reproducing their models, infused their work with the individuality of their enlightened talent. The sensitive quality of Elias’s work resonates with such renewed vitality it enables, enhances and engages its beholder. By means of his brush strokes he gives his iconographic compositions inner beauty and embellishes their appearance with decorative characteristics which are wholly personal and sublime in inspiration.

With the technique of a gifted servant, Elias hand paints portable icons for private devotion as well as large wall murals to suit the needs of the individual or community. He incorporates various techniques into his work including egg tempera, fresco, secco, gold gilding and produces his own paints from pigments. He renders complete restoration of portable icons and wall murals.

In 2001 Elias established The Icon Fund which serves as a beacon of support for new communities and older churches with the motto “Preserving our Past, Enriching our Future” which has granted over $500,000.00 in free iconography, icon restoration and matching grants to dozens of communities throughout the western hemisphere and continues to do so.

In 2008 Elias founded the Pan Orthodox Iconographers Association of America. This association was developed to nurture young aspiring iconographers, educate the society at large about Orthodox Iconography and support the many iconographers living in the United States. The POIAA is currently the largest iconographers association in the world; Elias serves as its president.

Elias has been a featured speaker on Come Receive the Light and has written several papers on Orthodox Iconography.

Elias lives his faith and understands his ministry as an Orthodox Iconographer working in the United States. In addition to accepting commissions for iconography for Orthodox communities and laity, Elias offers in-depth seminars, lectures and presentations on a variety of topics dealing with Orthodox Iconography.

Elias is a man of talent, integrity and devotion.


  • The Byzantine Perspective
    An examination of the iconographic elements which make up the unique character of Byzantine Art including, inverted perspective, the Golden measurements, Crowns of Light, Gold leaf, landscape the power of light and more
  • Beauty: The Vision of Orthodox Church
    Byzantine art explained through the eyes of Orthodox Christianity in particular through the ultimate expression of the Divine Liturgy.
  • Byzantine and Orthodox Architecture
    Not only a canvas for iconography, a setting for Orthodox worship and particular elements that characterized Orthodox buildings. Interior space are explained in full detail and church exteriors are explored, ever wonder why Russian domes are shaped like that? An excellent primer for any community designing a new church edifice or anybody interested in the historical development of Orthodox Architecture.
  • Development of Eastern Orthodox Art
    A historic examination of the development of Orthodox art from the early centuries of Christianity up to modern times
  • Folk Arts of the Greek Immigrants
    Neo-classic and folk arts brought with the immigrants of Greece. Theological elements and difference between Byzantine and Neoclassic style icons
  • Byzantine Influences on Development of Western Art and the Renaissance
    Byzantine influence on Western art: via returning pilgrims, traveling artists and crusaders. Sometimes influences were direct impact of sacking such as in 1204 sack of Constantinople. An in-depth examination on the roots of western art
  • A Comparison of Orthodox Icons and Catholic Paintings
    Direct comparisons of Theological, technical and aesthetic elements of Orthodox and Catholic art
  • Techniques of Byzantine Art Egg Tempera, Gold Leaf Gilding
    Exploration of the many techniques f Byzantine art; Egg Tempera, Gold leaf gilding, Secco, encaustic, panel preparation and many more insight techniques developed by the Orthodox East
  • Orthodox Iconography Through the 20th Century
    The infiltration and influence of Western art in the 19th & 20th century
  • Variations of Byzantine Art
    An examination of the many varied schools, styles and techniques of Orthodox Art: Cretan, Paleologian, Muscovite, Serbian, Albanian, Moldavia… Subtle variations in thought, theology, color and harmony
  • Icons of Orthodoxy
    Revealing examination of the lives of Saints and their relevance to us in the modern world.
  • How Orthodox ‘Byzantine’ Art Fits in Worship
  • Byzantine Influences in Western Art
  • History of Christian Art: an Eastern Perspective
  • African Origins of Christian Art
  • Divine Revelation: Deciphering the Orthodox Icon
  • Byzantine Kinesics
  • The Orthodox Icon: Seen and Unseen

Additional Offerings

Icon Classes & Icon Seminars

  • Easels, canvas, paper, charcoal, paints, brushes and prayer
  • Weekend retreats for your community or sponsored at the local University or Art College and excellent outreach program, ministry and educational experience or everyone involved appropriate for all ages and all levels of technical artistic experience.

Visual Presentations

  • Many lectures seminars and talks can incorporate state of the art visual presentations displaying fine quality photographs and clips too create an interesting and unforgettable experience for all.

Custom Publishing and promotional materials available upon request.

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