Painting by renowned artist donated for Seminarian Education Event and Auction

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
A painting by world-renowned painter and portrait artist Igor Babailov has been donated as an auction item for the Seminarian Education Event and Auction to be held on Tuesday, May 25. The painting was used as the cover of the book “The 13th Disciple” by Paul Stutzman.

A painting by painter and portrait artist Igor Babailov will once again be auctioned off as part of the Seminarian Education Event and Auction to be held on Tuesday, May 25.

The painting was originally commissioned to be used as the cover for the book “The 13th Disciple” by Paul Stutzman, said Ashley Linville, director of development for the Diocese of Nashville. “It’s an original painting,” he added. The owner of the painting has donated it as an auction item.

The painting depicts Christ giving the Eucharist to a kneeling pilgrim. According to the artist, “The 13th disciple can be any one of us.”

“We are thrilled to have Maestro Babailov’s work included as one of our major auctions items this year, as its market value is $50,000,” Linville said. “As the opening bid will be at $7,500, it provides everyone in Nashville and across the nation a chance at owning a piece of history and sacred work of art by one of the world’s most renowned artists.”

Babailov is a world-renowned portrait artist. In 2010, his portrait of Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI was selected by the pope for the Vatican Splendors international museum tour. The portrait was displayed alongside the works of Michelangelo, Bernini, Giotto and other Renaissance masters. Babailov was the only living artist whose work was selected for the exhibit.

Besides Pope Benedict XVI, Babailov has painted the portraits of Pope Francis and St. John Paul II. Others he has captured on the canvas include President George W. Bush, Nelson Mandela, former First Lady Hillary Clinton, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, retired Gen. David Petraeus, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and other world leaders, celebrities and distinguished individuals. 

He was recently commissioned to paint the Commander of the Vatican Pontifical Swiss Guards, Col. Christoph Graf, who was appointed by Pope Francis.

Babailov’s paintings have been donated as auction items in the past for the Seminarian Education Event and Auction. For more information about the painter and his work, visit

Other auction items this year include:

  • A bourbon tasting hosted by Father John Hammond, Vicar General and Judicial Vicar of the diocese and pastor of St. Patrick Church in Nashville, and Father Andrew Forsythe, the chaplain at Pope John Paul II High School. This year’s tasting will feature Single Barrel bourbons, Linville noted.
  • A Brazilian dinner prepared by Father Gervan Menezes, the chaplain of University Catholic. Father Menezes is a native of Brazil and a former chef.
  • A camp session donated by Camp Marymount.
  • Dinner with Father Austin Gilstrap and Father Luke Wilgenbusch, the director and associate director of vocations for the diocese, respectively.
  • A barbecue dinner and Mass celebrated by Father Patrick Kibby, the senior priest at St. Henry Church, at the grotto at the Goodlettsville home of Chris and Patricia Casa Santa.
  • A Zoom experience with Nashville Predators play-by-play announcer Pete Weber and Tennessee Titans radio color analyst and former NFL coach Dave McGinnis.
  • A hand-made quilt.
  • Two tours of historic churches in the diocese led by Father Ed Steiner, pastor of St. Philip Church in Franklin. One tour will be of churches in the northern half of the diocese and the other tour will feature churches in the southern half.

An event with Bishop J. Mark Spalding is also being planned as an auction item, and the details will be announced later, Linville said.

The auction, like the rest of this year’s event, will be held online at The auction will open at 6 p.m. Friday, May 21, and will end at 10 p.m. Tuesday, May 25. Auction items will be posted on the website closer to the date of the event.

For the second year in a row, the Seminarian Education Event and Auction will be virtual, but it will still be an opportunity for the people of the Diocese of Nashville to meet and get to know the future priests of the diocese.

One of the features of this year’s fundraising event, which will begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 25, will be videos of the seminarians hosting virtual tours of their seminaries, giving people a peek into the rhythm of their daily lives. The event will also feature recorded messages from Bishop Spalding, Father Gilstrap and Father Wilgenbusch. 

The money raised will help pay for the education and formation of the diocese’s 20 seminarians, who are studying at the North American College in Rome, St. Meinrad Seminary in St. Meinrad, Indiana, St. Joseph Seminary in St. Benedict, Louisiana, Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving, Texas, and Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.

The goal for this year’s event is $225,000. The cost of educating the seminarians for the diocese is about $75,000 per year for each seminarian, Linville noted.

The event is sponsored by the Serra Clubs of Williamson County and Nashville and the Tennessee Knights of Columbus. 

People can visit to view the event and to make a donation. People don’t have to wait until May 25 to make a donation, Linville said, they can do it at any time.

Anyone interested in helping to sponsor the event can contact Linville at or 615-645-9768.

Subscribe to our email list

Keep your finger on the pulse of Catholic life in Middle Tennessee by subscribing to the
weekday E-Register here.

* indicates required