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The Westcott Icon

Westcott House Icon

Westcott Chapel's stark austerity is dominated by its well-known icon of Christ which bears his words "You did not choose me but I chose you" (John 15:16). The icon was commissioned by the Westcott community and written by the celebrated iconographer Marianna Fortounatto in 1981.


Rowan Williams, in his book, The Dwelling of the Light: Praying with Icons of Christ (Canterbury Press, 2003) bases his chapter on the Pantocrator on the Westcott icon, writing, "the icon of the Pantocrator in the chapel of Westcott House, Cambridge, was and is for me and many others a profoundly significant image."


Of its meaning he writes,

"The point is simple: face to face with Jesus, there and only there, do we find who we are. We have been created to mirror his life, the eternal life of the one turned always toward the overflowing love of the Father; but our human existence constantly turns away. When we look at Jesus, we see in some measure what he sees, and are drawn to where his eyes lead us... we look at him looking at us, and try to understand that as he looks at us he looks at the Father. In other words, when he looks at us, he sees the love that is his own source and life, despite all we have done to obscure it in ourselves. When we look at him looking at us, we see both what we were made to be, bearers of the divine image and likeness, and what we have made of ourselves."


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