Why I Started My Book With Christ the true vine
My newest graphic novel on Saint John the Dwarf has an odd start.
It starts with an illustration of Christ the True Vine.
This is a recreation of a 15th century icon titled the True vine, based on John 15:5.
The composition is straightforward: Christ is in the center, and disciples surround him. Christ connects the apostles and the branches are like the Church.
My iteration has an important twist: the fathers. These branches extend to include the likes of Saint Antony the Great, Saint Macarius and Saint Mary of Egypt.
This is to say that Christ is at the spiritual center and the connection point between all the saints. Not only that, it lays the groundwork for the main narrative in the book.
It’s important when reading the lives of the saints to remember that Christ really is the center of their decisions and the focus of their love. Having understood that, it’s also incredible to see how DIFFERENT the saints can be – and still lead to the same centre.
Saint Pachomius, for one, was a military commander who became a monk, Saint Mary of Egypt lived sinfully then led a life of repentance, Saint Antony started his ascetic struggle in his teenage years. Each one has their own story, but they all lead virtuous Christ-like lives that lead to the same center.
This theme carries through my take on the life of St. John the Dwarf to show that even though his own teacher was a very strict leader, John grew to be his own leader and still carried the virtues his spiritual father fostered in him.
After writing this tree structure into the narrative, I discovered that saint John himself said the following:
Cool huh? 😀
If you haven’t had a chance yet, be sure to buy a copy of my graphic novel on the life of saint John the dwarf!