The Awakening Story

Uploaded by MrHolon1 on 11.12.2011


We've come to this beautiful cathedral setting today to tell you a true story of
artistic and spiritual inspiration.
Now, for those of you who've not seen our Miracle Cross videos, I'll recap briefly.
Andrew, the former prison inmate, who's Easter vision was the inspiration for
his unique idea of combining the crucifixion and resurrection into one
had turned his life over to God.
As a result his bleak future of life in prison changed dramatically
when a judge unexpectedly sent him to a California state mental hospital for
Andrew knew in his heart that God was the source of his good fortune
and he was determined
not to regress to his old thought patterns of self-pity and revenge.
So once at the hospital,
he asked a fellow inmate to create a watercolor painting of his vision.
Andrew taped that small painting over his bunk to provide daily inspiration
as he pursued his now spiritually directed goals.
Now, adorning the walls like this was against the rules
and, as in most penal institutions, periodically the staff would sweep through
the dormitory style wards
and strip everything from the walls
and in the process invariably toss Andrew's painting into the wastebasket.
But just as soon as they left, he said, undaunted,
he would put it right back up.
And it remain a daily source of comfort and assurance over the years he
remained incarcerated there.
Upon his release
he and his family moved several times before they gained financial and domestic
and in the relocation shuffling, packing and unpacking, the painting was lost.
Andrew, though, never forgot how well it served his purpose of reminding him how
God had changed his life
for he felt it perfectly symbolized his rebirth into a spiritually directed
After the Miracle Cross jewelry pendant
had been designed for him to wear
and his invention was well on its way to commercial market,
Andrew felt sufficiently
financially secure
to consider having that little water color rendering reproduced as an oil
only now, he could afford to commission a professional artist to do the work.
I'd become closely allied with him during this time, having met Andrew and
his wife in church,
and was actively engaged in writing his story into a screenplay,
so we decided to make a field trip into the artist enclave of Laguna Beach,
California to find an artist.
We toured various galleries and spoke with art dealers
and soon realized that the type of skilled professional we were interested
in, one with a classical style, would probably be priced out of our budget.
As we admired one such artist who emulated the old masters'
techniques and esthetics,
the dealer told us that to commission this artist would probably cost us several
hundred thousand dollars
and take a year or more to complete the painting,
if we could even get this artist to scheduled it.
But he knew of a very good painter, newly emigrated from Europe,
that he thought would do the work
and would be reasonably priced.
He arranged for us to meet this artist at his studio on Sunset Boulevard in
the next week.
The artist, Hovik Kochinian,
was from Armenia and had his work hanging in museums all over the world
but mostly in Europe and Russia.
He'd been invited to come to the United States in 1990 and was just
beginning to build a reputation here in America at the time we approached him in
Hovik was from a land of strong Christian traditions.
In fact, Armenia boasts of being the first country in the world to recognize
Christianity as its official religion,
the traditional date being 301 AD more than two decades before
Constantine the Great did so for the Roman Empire.
In fact, the Armenian Apostolic Church is so named for its founding by two of
Jesus' original twelve apostles,
Thaddeus and Bartholomew.
So when we showed Hovik this little cross pendant
and explained Andrew's idea for the painting
he quickly understood the concept
and immediately said he would be interested in the project.
So we left him a cross and agreed to meet in a week to go over the sketches and
preliminary drawings of his ideas
before commissioning him to take on the project.
A week later he called to say he had to postpone the meeting.
When we finally did meet two weeks later we were shocked when he said he had no
sketches to show us.
Then to our utter surprise he unveiled a completed oil painting.
Hovik explained to us that he was so moved by the idea embodied in this
special little cross and the story behind it
that in a burst of artistic inspiration
he knew he had to paint his own vision of the miracle this cross depicted.
And rather than waste time with preliminary sketches,
he immediately began to paint the vision developing in his own mind.
He started to work
and continued almost non-stop, he said, taking only occasional breaks to eat and
sleep a little.
He worked day and night.
Let me set the scene in Hovik's studio so that you can better understand the
process that was taking place here.
The studio was very spartan,
one large room with a wall of windows on one side and skylights overhead,
but no furniture.
He set up his blank canvas on an easel in the middle of room
with this paints and just began to paint.
Oh, there was one other item, a portable tape player on the floor
that he played a tape of one album, and one album only, and let it repeat over and over
as he worked.
That album was Peter Gabriel's "Passion"
the 1990 Grammy award winner about the crucifixion of Jesus.
The music sounds Middle Easern, trying to capture the historical environment and
era of Jesus.
In fact, the opening track is based on an old Armenian melody
and features the ancient Armenia instrument, the duduk.
Now the duduk is a very old instrument. Armenian historians claim it
goes back to 1200 BC, which is roughly the time of Moses.
And it's also unique in sound.
A double-reed windwood, it has a muted soft sound, some call mournful or
sad, which makes it appropriate for creating a reverent, devotional mood.
Listen to this short sample of the duduk sound and judge for yourself.
The song's title, in translation, is
"Holy, Holy."
I think you can understand why the duduk has been described as playing the
language of the Armenian soul.
The musician you heard was Djivan Gasparyan,
probably the most famous Armenian duduk player,
and the mountain scene
was actually Mount Ararat.
Yes, the borders of ancient Armenia actually included the traditional
landfall of Noah's ark.
Armenia has a very old and rich religious tradition.
So here's Hovik working passionately- how else can we say it?-
in an artistic furvor, inspired by the events of Jesus' Passion depicted in this
small cross, and urged on by this very beautiful and compelling music.
Now for those of you who would like to hear excerpts of Peter Gabriel's "Passion"
I've put together a short video you'll find on our website at
And you may purchase the individual songs or the album at or
Now to discuss Hovik's creation in detail,
we'll go to a more intimate room where we have the original framed oil painting
It'll take just a moment.
We'll be right back.
Now here's Hovik's original oil painting.
We've named it "The Awakening."
We were astonished when he presented this to us,
as we were only expecting to see a few sketches
and we'd not even told Hovik that we would definitely hire him.
There was no contract.
We'd not even discussed price and, for all he knew, we might have been talking to other
So you can see where this was an act of faith on his part.
He must have been convinced that he could create a painting we would like
if we didn't like it, well, he couldn't have sold this painting to anyone else.
Remember this idea was patent-protected,
and, if we didn't want it,
all this
work could have been in vain.
But I doubt that those considerations even entered his mind.
He was caught up in the throes of artistic inspiration
and his only concerns were with the subject matter and his creation.
God works in strange ways.
Never underestimate the power of spiritual inspiration.
It's amazing how events that occurred two thousand years ago can strongly
impact lives today.
Now let's examine this marvelous painting in closer detail.
Vertical movement dominates.
Everything seems to be flowing up.
Even the robes of the Christ seem to be materializing out of the night sky high
and rising up into it.
The arms of the figures provide the horizontal lines that hold the vertical
in check.
So the feeling is of a tenuous suspension,
of bodies hovering in mid-air,
which conveys an overall lightness of being.
The background hues are predominately those of the moonlit night sky
and evoke that mysterious world of the spirit.
While the flesh tones represent the physical plane
in counterbalance
and focus our attention to the center stage of his unfolding miracle.
We see that a transformation is actually taking place before our eyes,
a morphing from one form to another, if you will.
The energy that was the human Jesus is transforming into the developing
spiritual Christ.
We know this because Jesus' outer appendages, specifically the hands, are
slightly darker, fading into the night
and dematerializing,
while only the hands of the Christ
are flesh colored,
meaning they are materializing before our eyes.
Two worlds then are contrasted,
the spiritual and the material,
metaphysical and physical.
But, they are also merging.
It's literally the transitional moment when the spirit became flesh,
In this the artist seems to be acknowledging the universal laws of
specifically, the conservation of energy,
that energy can be neither created nor destroyed,
but can only change from one form to another.
And by connecting this event to the laws of all energy he thereby connects it to
the source of all energy, God.
It is a holy moment.
The nimbus or halo around the heads of both figures signifies them as divine
and as connected in spirit
and are, in fact, the same being.
The spirit of Jesus, having left his flesh is reforming behind his limp,
lifeless body
into the new and incorruptible flesh of the living Christ.
So there you have just a few of my ideas about this painting. You may have some of
your own and, if so, I invite you to share them with me.
You can contact me at the website posted at the end of this video.