Some thoughts from R.J. Hughes

The Orthodox faith is a faith of art in many forms. While my work was limited to the visual arts, I wanted to, and hoped I did, create a rich, colored world that reflects the beauty of a Pascha service.

A huge thank you to Father John Troy Mashburn and St. John Orthodox Church in Memphis, Tennessee, for allowing me and Charlotte Riggle to model Catherine’s church on theirs, including inserting the icons that adorn their sanctuary, directly into Catherine’s sanctuary.

I am an artist, not an iconographer. Iconography (literally, “writing an image”) is a very specific form of art that takes many years of training. It is, really, a form of worship, where the resulting icon is not a picture or painting, so much as it is the result or record of each particular act of worship. I felt to mimic that by trying to draw a copy of an icon for this story would be to mock this ancient art form. By allowing us to model Catherine’s church, including the icons she saw, on theirs, I could keep the integrity of this form of worship, while still including it as a central part of Catherine’s church and Paschal experience.

The Orthodox Church includes some of the oldest and continuously used churches and art in the world. Icons in murals and frescoes, illuminated manuscripts, chants and hymns, all can trace back, centuries, and even millennia. Many of the churches and patterns on the pages of Catherine’s Pascha reflected some of these ancient designs.


The icons at St. John Orthodox Church that I used as my models were created by Fr. Luke Dingman. You can learn more about Fr. Luke, his iconography, and his other artwork at his website.

The designs for the Pascha basket covers that you see in the illustrations in Catherine’s Pascha were created by Tracy Thallas of Practical Blackwork. You can see more of her historically inspired patterns at her Etsy store.

Read More

Orthodox churches in Catherine’s Pascha: On the pages of Catherine’s Pascha, you’ll find Orthodox Churches from every continent on earth. You can use the information we’ve gathered about these churches as the basis of many projects and activities.

Anastasis icon of the Resurrection: Iconographer Randi Maria Sider-Rose explains the symbolism in the Anastasis icon of the resurrection.

Glass icon project: Follow our step-by-step instructions to make a glass icon in the Romanian folk tradition.

Buy the Book: Catherine’s Pascha

Catherine doesn’t like vegetables. She doesn’t like naps, and she doesn’t like it when her mom combs her hair. She loves hot dogs, chocolate cake, and her best friend, Elizabeth. Most of all, she loves Pascha! Pascha, the Orthodox Christian Easter, is celebrated in the middle of the night, with processions and candles and bells and singing. And Catherine insists that she’s not a bit sleepy.

Celebrate the joy of Pascha through the magic of a book: Catherine’s Pascha. Available on Amazon,, and my webstore.

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