Cedar Rapids Iconostasis Project Featured in Local News


Hanna AbouAssaly of Marion (left) hands a shelf to Soleiman Shalhoub of Damascus, Syria (right) while Tristan Stevens assists (Photo: Liz Martin/The Gazette-KCRG)Hanna AbouAssaly of Marion (left) hands a shelf to Soleiman Shalhoub of Damascus, Syria (right) while Tristan Stevens assists (Photo: Liz Martin/The Gazette-KCRG)Read the full Gazette article

On December 10, 2012, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reported that since mid-November, "piece by piece," Soleiman Shalhoub has been installing a stone iconostasis at St. George Orthodox Church. Last January, he began the project with the aid of fifteen employees, sketching out his designs and then carefully carving the Syrian stone quarried from mountains in the Holy Land.

“There’s no one else who does this kind of work,” Shalhoub said, noting that his technique has been passed down through his family for generations. Six tons of stone traveled by ship to New York in 1,700 pieces, arriving at about the same time as Hurricane Sandy made landfall. It was then transported via truck and train to Cedar Rapids.

Members of St. George's community have assisted with the project, providing meals and labor. The parish will celebrate with an open house in the spring once the icons are mounted in the completed stone iconostasis. "The finished piece, which will include red oak doors also designed by Shalhoub, will be unlike any other piece of art in Iowa," noted the Gazette.