'Framed as a visit to an imaginary Orthodox church, this series of meditations on icons-depictions of biblical and church history figures in paint, mosaic and other media-serves not only as an art history lesson but an examination of their role in public devotion and private prayer. Mathewes-Green pulls the reader right into the sanctuary with her, which gives the book immediacy and perspective. Theological conundrums and historical explanations that might seem turgid and dry become compelling and vivid in her skilled hands. For the Orthodox, as Mathewes-Green explains, icons are objects of veneration because they can transport believers closer to the presence of God. Redolent with the drama of liturgy, soaked in church history and laced with quotations from the Bible and Orthodox hymns, this slight volume offers rewards for both the intellectually curious and the religious seeker.'
"Frederica Mathewes-Green, whose books on Eastern Orthodoxy have popularized ancient Christian practices for a modern audience, beautifully underscores the importance of following the precedent of the earliest Christians in The Illumined Heart: The Ancient Christian Path of Transformation."