Free Talk: The Old Believers and their Icons


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Heavenly Beings: Icons of the Christian Orthodox World introduces the tradition of devotional art of the Christian Orthodox faith in an exceptional exhibition of icons drawn from across the world. To celebrate this exhibition, we have an exciting opportunity to learn more about the liturgical history and significance of icons.

In this free, public in-conversation, former gallery director and renowned icon specialist Gordon Morrison and Sophie Matthiesson, Senior Curator International Art and curator of Heavenly Beings will discuss the world of the Starovery or ‘Old Believers’ – groups of Orthodox faithful who rejected the reforms of the Church in the 1600s. For reasons that will be made clear, icons were extraordinarily important to these people; looking at the icons they venerated can give us special insights into this form of sacred art.

A Q&A may be held afterwards.

Although this talk is free, please reserve your place to avoid disappointment.



A graduate of the University of Melbourne, Gordon Morrison was Registrar of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) from 1985–1996,  Head of Exhibitions at the NGV 1997–2003 and Director of the Art Gallery of Ballarat 2004–2018. Among the many exhibitions he has curated are San Marco and Venice at the NGV in 1997 and Eikon: Icons of the Orthodox Christian World at the Art Gallery of Ballarat in 2014.


Image credits: 

The Twelve Principal Feasts, Russia. Private collection, Melbourne

Gordon Morrison - Craig Holloway

Sophie Matthiesson - Courtesy of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

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