Icon Centre


Icon School

Offers courses in iconography at the Icon Centre and also at the Emmanuel Monastery, both long term and short courses, for locals and for people from around the world.

Icon Studio

Working strictly to commission under the direction of the Director the workshop dispatches custom made icons to churches and individuals around the world.

Visitor's Centre

As part of Bethlehem’s welcome to the millions of pilgrims and tourists, the BIC has a dedicated visitor’s centre along the ancient pilgrim’s route in the heart of the City.

How to find us





in the presence of the Mayor of Bethlehem and the Palestinian Minister of Culture, with the awarding of the certificates by Mr Aidan Hart from the Prince's School of Traditional Arts in London and the blessing of the junior iconographers by Archbishop Zerey from Jerusalem. What a wonderful day! Congratulations to Madlen Manneh and Sr Esther of the Beatitudes Community, our first two graduates from the PSTA course!


Our Graduates Madlen Manneh & Sr. Esther




September 2017 1 week course 

Our last International Icon Course was held in the Centre six of the International Students came from different countries joined the course and painted the Icon of Archangel Michael, here in September. Archbishop Zerey representing our patron joined us to bless the icons on the last day. The course was intensive, 7 days from 9am-5pm,

Our next course dates are: 2018 Intensive Courses:

Tue, 3 April 2018 – Mon, 9 April 2018
Thu, 27 September 2018 – Wed, 3 October 2018

Fri, 30 November 2018 - Thu, 6 December 2018






   Palestinian Culture Minister               highlights support for                       Bethlehem Icon Center


 On Friday, August 4, 2017, Dr. Ihab Bseiso, the Palestinian Culture Minister, opened an icon exhibition entitled “Icons today, the new birth of an old Palestinian heritage”, held by the Bethlehem Icon Center.

The Palestinian Culture Minister, who opened the exhibition, spoke of the importance of valuing not only the spiritual aspect but also the cultural dimension of the Bethlehem Icon Center. “The Bethlehem Icon Center with its cultural and artistic dimensions will be an important component in the preparations for the events of Bethlehem, Capital of Arab Culture 2020”, Dr. Bseiso said.



                       Term Dates 


                                                                       Intensive course 2017

                                                                        21 Sep – 27 Sep 2017

                                                                        Beginners & Diploma   

                                                                      3 Oct 2017 – 2 Dec 2017

                                                                          Term Dates 2018 

                                                        Fri, 26 January 2018 – Thu, 22 March 2018

                                                           Fri, 4 May 2018 – Thu, 28 June 2018

                                                     Fri, 5 October 2018 – Thu, 29 November 2018

                                                                        2018 Intensive Courses:

                                                         Tue, 3 April 2018 – Mon, 9 April 2018

                                                 Thu, 27 September 2018 – Wed, 3 October 2018

       THe BIC visited Bethlehem                                  Municipality


The BIC staff and students visited The Bethlehem Municipality and congratulated Mr. Anton Salman on his new position as the new mayor.




Final Icon delivered to St Anne's Church in Jerusalem

The latest in our commissions was delivered to the White Fathers in Jerusalem this week (12th June 2017). Showing Christ healing the paralytic at the pool of Bethesada, it forms the second part of a pair of icons which adorn the new Visitor's Centre at St Anne's Church in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Church is built on the site of the Bethesda pool where the miracle took place. The other icon shows the Blessed Mother with St Anne and St Joachim, who are reputed to have lived in a house adjacent to the site. Thus these two sizeable icons draw the deep events of the past into the present as living events in the Christian Liturgy. 


Fr Jim and Deacon Olivier bring the icon into the Visitors' Centre at Bethesda Pools... you can see the sketch in the background which was hung in place since the opening of the Centre earlier this year.


The maintenance team from St Anne's do the business of mounting the icon on a wall to the left of the altar...opposite the icon of the Blessed Mother with SS Anna & Joachim...


Ian with Fr Jim Green, Bursar of the White Fathers who oversaw the commission. 


The Visitors' Centre at St Anne's Church, showing the altar and the icon.

We are receiving many enquiries about icon commissions recently. The Centre doesn't usually sell icons but each icon is made to commission from an individual, church or institution. This means that the work is designed specifically for the situation or person, and is a relationship of prayer and mutual appreciation. It also means that it is more rewarding designing icons for specific places or contexts, bringing a creative challenge but within the canonical norms. An icon can 'work' very differently depending on the location - light, the surrounding colours, other liturgical objects, proximity to the person viewing it etc. and its both challenging and rewarding to be able to explore all these variables as part of the creative process.

We hope that after Christmas we will have a small team of students working with Ian on a permanent basis, which we hope will reduce the current 18 month waiting list! Icon commissions placed through the Icon Centre are guaranteed to be of the highest quality and made in an ethical and ecologically sensitive way, as well as theologically orthodox. We do not create 'modern icons' showing contemporary heroes, but simply canonical saints of the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. 

Iconographers who work through the Centre receive 80% of the price paid for their icons, while the remaining 20% goes to the Centre. All our local students study free of charge so this is one way to help the School continue its work in a sustainable way. 

The Famous British Iconographer Aidan hart visited the Centre      


The famous Iconographer Aidan Hart spent three days from 16-18th of May at the Bethlehem Icon Centre he gave a three-day lectures for the Diploma Students and a general Lecture and presentation about the "Icons in the Liturgy Today" for an audience of 50 people.The students also celebrated the 60th Birthday of Aidan at the Centre with a barbecue gathering which was a nice and special way to end his visit to Palestine.


Nicola Juha appointed 

new Director of the BIC


On April 1st 2017 Ian stood aside as Director of the BIC and Nicola Juha took over the role which Ian had took on since he established the BIC back in 2012. 

Nicola, who has been a student at the BIC since 2012 and served on the Board for much of that time as our legal advisor, brings very strong local relationships and a warm gift for bringing people together. He will focus on developing our Fund Raising strategy, our resources and relationships with general and group visitors, publicity, overseeing the commissions, developing student resources and of course the overall direction of the Centre's development. 

Ian remains Chairman of the BIC non profit company, and takes up a new role as Principal of the Bethlehem Icon School, the main educational arm of the BIC's work, as well as the lead iconographer in the workshop. In particular he will be preparing for the new iconographers who will graduate at the end of this year on the Diploma programme as well as continuing to work on the many commissions which the Centre is attracting.  

With over 30 students last term, and a full intensive one week course, a new cafeteria for our students established in the lecture hall, good international media interest, a growing number of visitors and a steady flow of commissions the Centre is thriving and the expansion of our leadership team helps position us in a good place to build on it.

Auspicious Papal blessing at an important ecumenical event in RoME


Our out-going Director Ian Knowles presenting a prayer card of 'Our Lady Who Brings Down Walls' to His Holiness Pope Francis during the icon blessing at the Anglican Church in Rome, Feb.2017. 

The icon was painted in 2011 on the Israeli separation wall for a group who have prayed the Rosary there every week since it went up. It is inspired by a talk given by Pope Benedict to the bishops of the Middle East where he speaks of the 'Woman clothed in the sun' mentioned in the Book of Revelation as a prophetic image of the suffering faced by Christians across the Middle East.

This was at the first visit of a pope to an ordinary Anglican church community, to All Saints church in Rome. The focus for the occasion was the blessing of the Icon of the Saviour which was painted at the BIC in just ten days. This was done jointly by the Holy Father and the local Anglican bishops. It was an immense honour for the Icon Centre to be able to play such an important part in the moving and ecumenically significant ceremonies.

Next 7 day intensive One Week Icon Painting course: 

Autumn Course: 21-27 September, 2017 - open for bookings

The Bethlehem Icon School is part of the Bethlehem Icon Centre, situated in the heart of the Old City of Bethlehem.

Twice a year we run intensive one week courses in Christian iconography, showing how to use egg tempera paints in the ancient style of Byzantine icons. You learn to draw and paint an icon, and are introduced to methods of using gold leaf.

Classes are small so the tuition is focused and personal. The cost of tuition is still just £200.

Our next course runs from April 6th and finishes the evening of Wednesday 12th, in Holy Week. What a great way to keep Holy Week and prepare for the Triduum.

Message us here for more details or to register. Alternatively, email us: bethlehemiconcentre@gmail.com

Latest News

Apr 9, 2018, 1:06 PM
14 international students from all over the World joined the BIC for the April 1 week course
Nov 16, 2017, 7:15 AM
Nov 9, 2017, 7:41 AM
Nov 2, 2017, 11:19 AM
Jun 22, 2017, 8:54 AM
Bishop Joseph Absi was elected on Wednesday the new patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church
May 29, 2017, 7:44 PM
Martin Earle from the UK is with us to run a course in Byzantine mosaic
May 29, 2017, 10:21 AM
Wedding Celebration at our school for one of our student's
May 26, 2017, 12:24 AM
The officials visited our Centre during the new Russian project opening in star street.
May 25, 2017, 7:56 AM
Feb 28, 2017, 1:06 PM
The Holy Father, Pope Francis, anoints, blesses and venerates the Icon of the Saviour made at the Icon Centre.