The series “Apocalypse”, 1993

It was just before the time when linden were to bloom, but the feast of Saint John had already passed as I sat at the table to write this text. Earlier I had a vision: two pillars of fire were united by an arch of fire. On the arch in Roman letters hammered of flames was written: OBSCURUM PER OBSCURIUS[*]. Realizing that I don’t understand it, I could see suddenly with the eyes of John Apostle from Patmos the son of Zebedeus; with eyes of John Presbyter, with the eyes of the heretic Kerynt, of whom the Roman priest Caius and Eclesiast Eusebius speak referring to Papias aver some creation happened, full of stars and candlesticks, planets and suns, eternal light and impenetrable darkness, pearly gates and twelve gems; the first letters, which in a strange coincidence are transformed into a gateway, an entry ICXCCCXBTXYA, which my Country guest Dr. Michał Wojciechowski reads: Jesus Christos Soter, Christos Basileus Tapeinos, Christos Hyios Antropou[†], the resounding music of trumpets and thunders, deserted Thrones and venomous smokes and locust, the 144 000 redeemed, oceans of blood and ash — filled deserts… On the table, there was a little book, Saint Mark’s BOOK OF REVALATION, translated from Greek by Czesław Miłosz with his dedication signed in Maćkowa Ruda on September 24, 1989. The twelve stones of the foundation of New Jerusalem are twelve great letters and the twelve great letters are twelve paintings which I paint. I should cali it mysterium or mysterium tremendum — a story about our fears, the fragility of the human condition and for longing for the New Jerusalem. Forty years ago, in Junan monasteries I recognised the doctrine of unity of contrasts. Twenty־five years ago, while wandering trough the Caucasian Mountains during the misty autumn, I found on altars to Ariman, a tangible trace of old Monophysites heretics and the Islamic schism. A question then arose about the mutual relationship between good and evil, about mechanism of subjection of the latter on to the Good Shepard. The question remains unanswered.

The Church of the Full Faith sees in the Book of Revelation not only a prophetic message of admonition and warning but also one of consolation and hope. And it sees the final triumph of the Lamb.

We know how difficult and long might be the road we must follow as well as our humane fears and falls and the cruelty of human and mankind. This may be the reason for the many dark colors and violent lines in my twelve paintings, fas well as little faith in easiness and the nearness of victory. Bulhakov’s period of metahistory, referred to by Miłosz in his translator’s foreword, seems to be a wise and beautiful explanations of the reasons and sequence of the apocalyptic events — karma, the way it was said in the East.

Consolation is born by these words: “Fear not; I am the first and the last; I am he that liventh, and was dead; and behold, I am alivefor evermore, and have the keys ofhell and ofdeath” Book of Revelation 1,17,18.

Andrzej Strumillo — Psalms Apocalypse, The Catalogue, BWA, Suwalki, 1993

[*] Vague translate morę vague.

[†] Jesus Christ Saviour, Christ Messianic King, Christ Human Son.