By Margaret Moss-Hilligoss
Modern painting of the icon of St. Basil The Great is currently on display in
the gallery at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Enid. This painting is on loan
from St. Basil's Episcopal Church in Tahlequah. It will be exhibited through the
month of January.
Margaret Moss-Hilligoss prepared and donated the painting in honor of the
Blessing and Dedication of the Parish Hall and Sunday School at St. Basil's.
Bishop Powell blessed the painting and buildings in 1969. For 50 years, this
painting has been on exhibit at St. Basil's, except for periods of time when the
modern art aesthetic was not palatable for either clergy or parishioners. In
the early 1990s, Moss-Hilligoss moved from Tahlequah and transported the
painting to Taos, New Mexico where she was in residence. After its removal, the
church was vandalized. Fires were set in trash cans throughout the Parish Hall
and Sunday School rooms. This incident would have destroyed the painting.
In 1997, three women of St. Basil's contacted the artist and offered to purchase
the painting. It was returned to the church and now resides in the hall beside
the church office.
This image of St. Basil is drawn from a history book titled A Concise History
of Russian Art by Tamara Talbot Rice. The black and white photo is from a full
length figure of saints on the south side of the main apse of the Cathedral of
Hagia Sophia, Kiev, Russia. It is dated mid eleventh century.
Margaret Moss-Hilligoss is a practicing quilter in Enid and holds quilt days at
St. Matthew's Episcopal. She held a retrospective of her paintings and quilts at
Northern Oklahoma College Enid at the Phillips University Alumni meeting in
2015. She continues to be active advancing the inclusion of art in the public
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