NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) – The sounds outside of old churches seldom change over time unless you’re talking about St. Sophia’s Hellenic Orthodox Church in New London, a place of worship where remodeling is just apart of life as parishioner here.
“We’re doing the final stage now,” said the Rev. Dean Panagos. It’s a special church where both prayers and stepladders can help people of faith get closer to God, even if they come all the way from Georgia, like the Rev. Anthony Salzman, who is leading the operation of installing new paintings of religious figures he made.
“Father Anthony,” as he is called by those who know him, is a priest who has created and installed religious icons all over the world.
“When my in-laws found out my wife was dating an artist theologian they said ‘Great, two of the highest-paying professions, this will be good,'” Salzman said.
The images Father Anthony creates, Orthodox Christians believe, are meant to give people on earth a glimpse into Heaven. And if their beliefs are correct, Heaven looks a whole lot like New London. Next to paintings of well known religious figures are also ones of the Coast Guard Academy, the city’s train station and the shoreline.
“St. Peter and St. Paul, fishers of men, perfect for a whaling town I would say,” said Salzman said.
Most of the paintings are done before they ever arrive at the church and are glued onto the ceiling like pieces of canvas wallpaper. It will take at least two months before this job can be declared accomplished and Father Anthony is confident it will be finished on time. After all, he should know. He put his first painting up at St. Sophia’s in 1995.
“Full circle, I like that phrase, that’s a good phrase,” said Salzman.