| 75 the chains of formalism so that we won’t insist on symbolswithout that which they epitomise.We shouldn’t transformGod into an object, rather we should accept him as Life. The badnjakYule branch is becoming a rarity inCalifornia, withbranches only piled and burned beside temples, or in replaces inhomes. LightingaYulebranch doesn’t make as much sense in the heat of Hawaii as it does in the cold of Chicago or Colorado, but the churchdoesn’t determine customs, rather customs determine theChurch, as a living community that has throughout history transferred people to the other shore of true existence in love with God and people. Christ responds to the existential pulseswithinus. That sense of certainty thatwe are lovedprovides the ultimate meaning to our lives. Youpractise iconographyandpainting. How do your works emerge? - They emerge spontaneously, as the fruit of momentary inspiration. However, that is the fruit of studying thepaintings of great masters. All we have when we come into the world is the face of our mother, andperhaps that’swhy thehumanportrait fascinatesme. Greekpainter Fassianos says that he gets the jitters in front of a blank white canvas. I’mcalled to that experience of struggling with the canvas, a slight fever andmysterious urgency ahead of that whichcomes after applyingnewshades of pigment. I then feel like I’m caught in the domainof some fairy tale. I try toavoid falling intoarti ciality, because it’s not beauty that I’mseeking; I’mmore interested in the living truth of that which I paint. To what extent can art be a prayer and to connect us with God? - It seems to me that this depends on whether our life is a prayer. Man unconsciously lives a prayer, in the sense that throughdesirehe anticipateswhat is coming. That’s prayer in the broadest possible sense of the word, but the proper one is a livingdialogue(notamonologue)withone’s personalGod.Andproperart isaprayerprovided the truths of life are revealedwith it. Whatdoyouthinkaboutwhile ying CERTAINTY THAT WE ARE LOVED How should we interpret Christmas in our lives? - In our lives, Christ’s birth unfolds as a gracious visit of the Holy Spirit. “God desires, in each of us and in all generations, for the Secret Incarnation of the Son of God to occur,”wrote St Maximus the Confessor in the 7th century. He meant not to limit oneself to one place, but to become meaning and life, again and for all. Christ responds to the existential pulses within us. That sense of certainty that we are loved provides the ultimate meaning to our lives. U srpsku crkvu u Kaliforniji dolaze i holivudski glumci, poput Kristijana Bejla i Stane Katić The Serbian church in California is attended by Hollywood actors like Christian Bale and Stana Katić over the ocean? - I don’t know why, but up there thoughts are unburdened and I havemore beautiful thoughts about people while ying... Taking o provides an opportunity to look towards Heaven, but I fear that the need for “connectivity” also strives to prevent that. Still, by themoment of Christmas weareall connected withChrist andthere’s no longer roomfor delusions: everything is overwhelmed by the realism of God in the formof man.