Every time I chased Milla past that cross, it left a vivid imprint on my mind. A cross of flowers- the way meadows crown gravestones with wildflowers, the tiny little nails to remind us of the unbearable ones.
My Bunicu, who was spending the day with us, wanted to buy a reminder for me- something special to put in my house.
“Why do you keep looking over there, Alina? Heh. Is it that little cross?”
“Yes, Bunicu. I am trying to memorize it so I can make one.”
“Then let me buy it.”
“No no no no no…”
“Excuse me madam, can I have that cross on the wall? Yes, that little one.”
My little cross’ creator is artist and sculptor Marian Zidaru, whose wife, Victoria, features prominently in his work and inspiration. Zidaru and his wife live in an Orthodox Christian artistic community in the foothills of the Carpathian mountains north of Bucharest. Aside from having participated in international art events in countries as diverse as Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Brazil, Marian Zidaru has won various international awards and fellowships. Together, the couple transformed art into a potent form of evangelizing for their faith and the sufferings of the world which we inhabit and share.
In an insightful and mesmerizing essay on the Zidaru’s art and its spiritual compoment, Anamaria Iosif Ross writes:
In addition to being the creators of striking social and spiritual artworks, which they sometimes display on mountain-tops, among trees, and amidst other natural landscapes, Marian and Victoria Zidaru are the most visible figures of a revivalist, apocalyptic, charismatic Orthodox Christian movement that sees itself as today’s Israel and holds Romania to be the site of the spiritual renewal of humanity through the Word of God. The earthly source of the New Jerusalem movement was a woman known as Saint Virginia (1923-1980), or diminutively St. Verginica, a devoutly religious seer who lived in the town of Pucioasa, near Târgovişte, a small historic city located two hours away from Bucharest.
The Courtyard of the Mother God, 1987.
I only wish I could have visited this town last month- that I had known more about Zidaru than the lovely way in which he combines paint and wood. If I have the opportunity to visit the Kripke Center at Creighton University, another little longing will be sated.
More sculptures and paintings by Zidaru across his broad range including:
I feel like this little cross deserves an entire wall of its own… Whenever I try to put it next to something else, it seems to overpower it. I’m still fascinated.