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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #360 on: January 27, 2009, 03:22:53 AM »
Quote
In regards to statues and icons, the Seventh Ecumenical Council dealt with that and defended both.


I realise this is a tangent, but, Handmaiden, this is not quite correct.

Act 7, of the Seventh Ecumenical Council:

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“We define the rule with all accuracy and diligence, in a manner not unlike that befitting the shape of the precious and vivifying Cross, that the venerable and holy icons, painted or mosaic, or made of any other suitable material, be placed in the holy churches of God upon sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, houses and streets, both of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and of our spotless Lady the holy Mother of God, and also of the precious Angels, and of all Saints. For the more frequently and oftener they are continually seen in pictorial representation, the more those beholding are reminded and led to visualize anew the memory of the originals which they represent and for whom moreover they also beget a yearning in the soul of the persons beholding the icons. Accordingly, such persons are prompted not only to kiss these and to pay them honorary adoration, what is more important, they are imbued with the true faith which is reflected in our worship which is due to God alone and which befits only the divine nature. But this worship must be paid in the way suggested by the form of the precious and vivifying Cross, and the holy Gospels, and the rest of sacred institutions, and the offering of wafts of incense, and the display of beams of light, to be done for the purpose of honouring them, just as it used to be the custom to do among the ancients by way of manifesting piety. For any honour paid to the icon (or picture) redounds upon the original, and whoever bows down in adoration before the icon, is at the same time bowing down in adoration to the substance (or hypostasis) of the one therein painted. For thus the doctrine of our Holy Fathers, it was the tradition of the universal Church."

Interpretation (from The Rudder):

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An idol is one thing, a statue is another thing, and an icon (or picture) is a different thing. For an idol differs from an icon in that the icon is a likeness of a true thing and its original, whereas the idol is an image of a false and inexistent thing, and is not the likeness of an original, according to Origen and Theodoret — just as were the idols of the false and inexistent gods of the Greeks. We call those images which embody the whole figure statues and carved or sculptured figures in general. As for this kind of images, namely, the statues, the catholic (Orthodox) Church not only does not adore them, but she does not even manufacture them, for many reasons:

1) because in its present definition this Council says for images to be produced with paints (or colours), with mosaic, or tessellated work, and with any other suitable material (which means with gold and silver and other metals, as Theodosius the bishop of Amorion says in Act 4 of the same Council) upon the sacred utensils, and robes, including sheets and cloths; upon walls and boards, and houses and streets. It did not mention a word about construction of a statue. Rather it may be said that this definition of this Council is antagonistic to statues;

2) because neither the letters written by patriarchs in their correspondence with one another, and to emperors, nor the letters of Pope Gregory to Germanus and of Pope Adrian to the present Council, nor the speeches and orations which the bishops and monks made in connection with all the eight Acts of the present Council said anything at all about statues or sculptured figures. But also the councils held by the iconomachs, and especially that held in Blachernae in the reign of Copronymus, in writing against the holy icons, mention oil paintings and portraits, but never statues or sculptured figures, which, if they existed, could not have been passed over in silence by the iconomachs, but, on the contrary, they would have been written against with a view to imputing greater blame to the Orthodox;

3) because although the woman with an issue of blood made a bronze statue of Christ in memory of and by way of giving thanks for the miracle and the benefaction which it had conferred upon her; and she set it up in the Panead, at the feet of which there sprang up a plant, or herb, which cured various ailments; and, as some say, that statue was smashed to pieces by the Emperor Maximinus, before Constantine the Great, and the bronze was seized by him; or else Julian the Apostate seized it, and put in its place the statue of Jupiter, as an anonymous writer says. Though, I say, the woman who had an issue of blood did make this statue (which the Christians took into the Church and honoured; and people went to see it out of a yearning for the original of it, as Philostorgus the Arian historically records), yet, as a matter of fact, that work of the woman who had an issue of blood was a concession from God, who, for goodness’ sake accepted it, making allowances for the imperfect knowledge of the woman who set it up; and because that was an embodiment and mark not of the grace of the Gospel, but of the old Law, as Pope Gregory II says in writing to St. Germanus (for the old Law had the two Cherubim, which were gold statues and sculptured figures containing all the body of the angelic powers, according to ch. 38 of Exodus, which Cherubim, according to an unknown expositor, had the face of a calf, and adored the Ark of the Covenant (here called the Ark of the Testimony, and by this adoration separated the Israelites from the idolatry of the Egyptians, who used to adore the calf. For the Jews learned from this that if a calf adored the Ark, it followed that the Egyptians were wrong in adoring it as a god).

Not only the old Law, but also the custom of the Greeks fostered the erection of statues and sculptured figures, as St. Germanus writes in a letter to Thomas of Claudiopolis which is to be found in Act 4 of the present Council, and which says: “It being obvious that the Saviour levelled His own grace to condescension with the faith of the woman, and showed what has been made evident to us above, namely, that it is not that what is performed is in general the object, but that it is the aim of the one performing it that is being reduced to experience . . . ." And again: “We do not say this, so that we may find an excuse for exercising the art of making bronze pillars, but merely in order to make it plain that the Lord did not discard the national custom at this point, but, instead, availed Himself of it to exhibit therein for a considerable length of time the wonder-working and miracle-working efficiency of His own benevolence; on which account it is not devout to disparage the custom of a somewhat more pious nature which has prevailed among us.”

You see here three things as plainly as day, to wit: 1) that the erection of the statue of Christ was moral, and that the Lord accepted it as a matter of compromise with the times; 2) that statues ought not to be manufactured; and 3) that it is more pious and more decent for the venerable images to be depicted, not by means of statues, but by means of colours in paintings. For the same saint said above by way of anticipation that in historically recording the facts concerning the statues, he historically recounts the fact that the icons of the Apostles Peter and Paul, painted in colours, were still extant . . . Canon LXXXII of the 6th, moreover, says that we ought to prefer the grace of the Gospel to the legal form, and ought to set up the human character, or figure, of Christ in icons instead of the olden lamb even in paintings.

So that from all that has been said it is proved that the Westerners are acting contrary to the definition of this holy and Ecumenical Seventh Council, and contrary to the tradition of the Church in making statues and sculptured figures and plaster of paris replicas, and setting them up in their churches. We said hereinabove those representations which embody the whole of that which they represent are called statues and sculptured work and plaster figures in general, whereas those representations which do not embody the whole of the person or other object which they are intended to represent, but at most merely exhibit them in relief, projecting, that is to say, here and there above the level and surface of the background, are not called statues or sculptured work or plaster of paris figures or any such name, but, instead, they are called holy icons (or, if they are not holy, simply pictures). Such are those which are to be found engraved or stamped or otherwise delineated upon the sacred vessels, on divine Gospels, and other holy books, on precious crosses, of silver and gold, according to Dositheus (p. 656 of the Dodecabiblus); to the same class are assigned also images cast in wax and more or less in relief, that is to say, projecting at various points above and receding at other points below the plane surface of the image, concerning which divine Chrysostom (in his Discourse wherein he argues that one and the same Lawgiver is the author of both the Old and the New Testament; and in Discourse 307 on the vesture of priests, the origin of which is to be found in the Gospel of the kingdom of Christ) says the following:

“I myself have loved the images cast in wax as a matter of piety. For I beheld an angel in an image driving back hordes of barbarians. I saw barbarian troops being trodden underfoot, and the words of David coming true, wherein he says: ‘Lord, in thy city Thou wilt do their image havoc’ (p. 852 of the second volume of the Conciliar Records, in Act 6 of the 7th C.; and p. 647 of the sixth vol. of Chrysostom). Oecumenius, too, accepts and approves this kind of image which is cast in wax in the manner above described (in his commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews). Hence, in writing to Symeon the bishop of Bostra, Anastasius the Patriarch of Antioch says: “though, as a matter of fact, an image is nothing else than a piece of wood and colours mixed and mingled with wax” (p. 845 of the second volume of the Conciliar Records). In the same class with these images are placed also the images which are carved in wooden crosses (crucifixes) and medallions. They, too, likewise are wrought in relief and project above the plane of the level surface, and do not compromise the whole body of the person or thing represented.

The reason and cause why statues are not adored or venerated (aside from the legal observation and custom noted hereinabove) seem to me to be the fact that when they are handled and it is noticed that the whole body and all the members of the person or thing represented are contained in them and that they not only reveal the whole surface of it in three dimensions, but can even be felt in space, instead of merely appearing as such to the eye alone, they no longer appear to be, nor have they any longer any right to be called, icons or pictures, but, on the contrary, they are sheer replications of the originals. Some persons, though, assert or opine that the reason why the Church rejected or did away with statues was in order to avoid entirely any likeness to idols. For the idols were statues of massive sculpture, capable of being felt on all sides with the hand and fingers.

It is clear from the above that, while bas-relief and embossed images are permissible for veneration, fully 3-dimensional statues are not.
I beg to differ on the grounds that an act of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which by itself does not speak about 3D icons, is universally authoritative, but the "interpretation" provided by the singular compiler of the Rudder is not, for it is but the work of one man.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2009, 03:24:57 AM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline stanley123

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #361 on: January 27, 2009, 03:46:45 AM »
In regards to statues and icons, the Seventh Ecumenical Council dealt with that and defended both. In terms of the rosary, the Western Rite uses a modified version that was written by St. Dimitri of Rostov.
Thanks for the information.
That is interesting to me, since I was told that Orthodox did not accept statues, as they were considered to be graven images.  And I didn't know about the rosary of St. Dimitri. 
« Last Edit: January 27, 2009, 03:47:25 AM by stanley123 »

Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #362 on: January 27, 2009, 03:57:56 AM »
LBK,

Please see the article on page 4 of the below link entitled "Statues in Eastern Orthodox Iconography."

http://www.westernorthodox.com/stmark/lion/lion2006-06

I think it may address your concerns.

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Maureen
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Offline LBK

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #363 on: January 27, 2009, 04:00:37 AM »
stanley, the Orthodox do not accept statues as objects of veneration. For some 1200 years, the only sculpted images deemed acceptable are bas-reliefs and embossed images, such as those found on a church's Gospel book, the priest's blessing cross, etc. Even the crucifix, which is used during the Holy Thursday and Great Friday services, has a remonable image of Christ which is a flat, painted panel, not a three-dimensional corpus as found in other non-Orthodox churches.
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Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #364 on: January 27, 2009, 04:03:34 AM »
stanley, the Orthodox do not accept statues as objects of veneration. For some 1200 years, the only sculpted images deemed acceptable are bas-reliefs and embossed images, such as those found on a church's Gospel book, the priest's blessing cross, etc. Even the crucifix, which is used during the Holy Thursday and Great Friday services, has a remonable image of Christ which is a flat, painted panel, not a three-dimensional corpus as found in other non-Orthodox churches.

Actually LBK, if you walk into a Western Rite Orthodox Church you will find statues there. They are canonical and accepted in both ROCOR and Antiochian Western Rite parishes. You can learn more about the Western Rite Churches here: http://www.westernorthodox.com/
« Last Edit: January 27, 2009, 04:04:32 AM by HandmaidenofGod »
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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #365 on: January 27, 2009, 10:40:50 AM »

 ???

Statues.....Liturgy based on the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.....

I am so confused. 

I've never heard of this.



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Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #366 on: January 27, 2009, 01:50:41 PM »

 ???

Statues.....Liturgy based on the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.....

I am so confused. 

I've never heard of this.

Most Eastern Orthodox Christians are unaware of the Western Rite because it's relatively young, was started in the U.S., and is still very small in size. (I believe there are only about 50 parishes world wide. I could be wrong on the exact number.)

However, it is a fully canonical expression of Orthodoxy, and as two canonized saints were involved in its inception (St. John Maximovich and St. Tikhon) we should embrace it.
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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #367 on: January 28, 2009, 05:55:53 PM »
Quote
And I didn't know about the rosary of St. Dimitri. 

But please don't think that the words of St. Dimitri are put into common practise throughout Orthodoxy or even through the Eastern Slavic world.
Has someone said above some where.
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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #368 on: February 12, 2009, 10:23:08 AM »
The following posts culled from Regarding Statues and Icons   -PtA


I visited there once many years ago (St. Sophia, above.)  It was a bit overwhelming, but I don't want to criticize, as I think people decorate their churches as they do with the intent of glorifying God.

I heard a rumor that the face of the Mother of God was modelled after Loretta Young.  Has anyone else heard that?  The icon is quite beautiful.

In a class we took we were told that it IS for sure modeled after her, and the other faces also are from other famous movie stars...there's a book that talks about it (if I remember right) called "Greeks in America" by Moskos.  I'm gona try to find it and see...
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 01:46:15 AM by PeterTheAleut »

Offline LBK

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #369 on: February 12, 2009, 06:32:12 PM »
I visited there once many years ago (St. Sophia, above.)  It was a bit overwhelming, but I don't want to criticize, as I think people decorate their churches as they do with the intent of glorifying God.

I heard a rumor that the face of the Mother of God was modelled after Loretta Young.  Has anyone else heard that?  The icon is quite beautiful.

In a class we took we were told that it IS for sure modeled after her, and the other faces also are from other famous movie stars...there's a book that talks about it (if I remember right) called "Greeks in America" by Moskos.  I'm gona try to find it and see...



To model an icon on the face of a person who is not the subject of the icon (such as, say, using an actress as a model for the Mother of God, as mentioned above) is a direct and completely unacceptable violation of iconographic canon. Would people find it acceptable to see an icon of Christ modelled on the face of, say, Gregory Peck, or George Clooney? Think about it.
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Offline Salpy

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #370 on: February 12, 2009, 09:26:54 PM »
Would people find it acceptable to see an icon of Christ modelled on the face of, say, Gregory Peck, or George Clooney? Think about it.

You have a point.  That would be just too weird.

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #371 on: February 12, 2009, 10:48:20 PM »
To model an icon on the face of a person who is not the subject of the icon (such as, say, using an actress as a model for the Mother of God, as mentioned above) is a direct and completely unacceptable violation of iconographic canon. Would people find it acceptable to see an icon of Christ modelled on the face of, say, Gregory Peck, or George Clooney?

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Offline ignatios

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #372 on: February 15, 2009, 01:26:29 AM »

Yet in my church, and many large Cathedrals (St. Sophias in California, for example (see below)) use icons that look more like 3D paintings. So I assume it's not heretical.


This church is ABSOLUTELY beautiful!!!

I also agree!

To model an icon on the face of a person who is not the subject of the icon (such as, say, using an actress as a model for the Mother of God, as mentioned above) is a direct and completely unacceptable violation of iconographic canon. Would people find it acceptable to see an icon of Christ modelled on the face of, say, Gregory Peck, or George Clooney? Think about it.

Preach it.  The above church is gorgeous, and I don't absolutely despise all Roman Catholic iconography in every instance, but I think it would be good to "update" these icons according to a more spiritually-beneficent standard.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 01:31:51 AM by ignatios »

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #373 on: February 15, 2009, 02:49:01 AM »
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Preach it. 


My dear ignatios, a look at my posts on this forum which deal with iconography show I have been doing exactly that. Many of the responses, however, have been less than encouraging.
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Offline The young fogey

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #374 on: February 15, 2009, 08:11:49 AM »
Bibs and bobs I've picked up over the years:

The seventh ecumenical council made it clear that because the invisible God became visible for a while as a man, figural art of him is now allowed. Jews and Muslims retain the ban.

Icons were a compromise because religious statues were too much like the pagans.

But I understand that pre-Muslim-onslaught Byzantium (eastern Roman Empire actually) had statues.

The Assyrians, Armenians and Syrians don't necessarily use images but don't prohibit them either: their traditions are older than the use of them. So you often see nearly imageless Eastern churches there!

Much mediæval Western art, from Romanesque (the preferred style on paper of the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate) to Fra Angelico for example, looks like Byzantine icons just as much post-Renaissance Orthodox art looks like Western Catholic models. The former makes sense because much of southern Italy was once Greek so there's crossover: old Sicilian churches obviously built as Greek churches so there are literal icon mosaics and murals.

There are different approaches to images in Orthodoxy and the West: the West tends to use them as teaching aids, the classic Lutheran position tolerating them; Western Catholicism comes close in practice to Orthodoxy on venerating images but the difference is still there. The Orthodox (actually I understand this is a relatively recent idea from the Russian theologian Ouspensky but I like it) see icons as a quasi-sacramental presence of the person halfway between a Western statue and literally having the person in the room with you either in the flesh or sacramentally as in the Eucharist.
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Offline serb1389

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #375 on: February 15, 2009, 09:38:40 AM »
I visited there once many years ago (St. Sophia, above.)  It was a bit overwhelming, but I don't want to criticize, as I think people decorate their churches as they do with the intent of glorifying God.

I heard a rumor that the face of the Mother of God was modelled after Loretta Young.  Has anyone else heard that?  The icon is quite beautiful.

In a class we took we were told that it IS for sure modeled after her, and the other faces also are from other famous movie stars...there's a book that talks about it (if I remember right) called "Greeks in America" by Moskos.  I'm gona try to find it and see...



To model an icon on the face of a person who is not the subject of the icon (such as, say, using an actress as a model for the Mother of God, as mentioned above) is a direct and completely unacceptable violation of iconographic canon. Would people find it acceptable to see an icon of Christ modelled on the face of, say, Gregory Peck, or George Clooney? Think about it.

Maybe you can point out for me which threads deal directly with what is the EXACT canon for drawing an Icon, because I thought that NONE of the ecumenical councils came out and said "this is exactly how you have to draw Jesus' face".  IN fact, I thought that their entire argument and premise is that you COULD draw Jesus' face.  period. 

If that point has been discussed before, i'd love to see it.  Otherwise, maybe you would be willing to take it up here in this thread? 

Offline Salpy

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #376 on: February 16, 2009, 01:37:41 PM »
The Assyrians, Armenians and Syrians don't necessarily use images but don't prohibit them either: their traditions are older than the use of them. So you often see nearly imageless Eastern churches there!

Just a little clarification.  Like you said, there is nothing in the tradition of these Churches which prohibits the use of icons, but whereas in Assyrian churches you won't see any icons at all, you will usually see some in Armenian and Syriac churches.  We just don't use them as copiously as the Copts and EO's do.

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #377 on: February 16, 2009, 06:36:26 PM »
Maybe you can point out for me which threads deal directly with what is the EXACT canon for drawing an Icon, because I thought that NONE of the ecumenical councils came out and said "this is exactly how you have to draw Jesus' face".  IN fact, I thought that their entire argument and premise is that you COULD draw Jesus' face.  period. 

If that point has been discussed before, i'd love to see it.  Otherwise, maybe you would be willing to take it up here in this thread? 

An icon painted using an unrelated individual's face as a model destroys the relationship between the icon and its prototype, i.e. who the icon represents. Such an image cannot, under any circumstances, be called an icon, as it cannot represent the prototype, and, therefore cannot be venerated as an icon.

Every one of us is an individual, with a physical and spiritual identity, each with out own unique soul. Christ and the Mother of God are no different, they each had their own identities. Do you now see  the arrant absurdity of using another's face to paint an icon of them, or of any saint?
« Last Edit: February 16, 2009, 06:37:30 PM by LBK »
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Offline serb1389

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #378 on: February 16, 2009, 09:37:57 PM »


An icon painted using an unrelated individual's face as a model destroys the relationship between the icon and its prototype, i.e. who the icon represents.

So we know without a shadow of a doubt that this was the face of Christ? 


Or is this the image of Christ?

Or is this the image of Christ? 



Or is this Christ? 


What about the Cretan school Vs. the Muscovite school, vs. the Kievan school vs. the Corinthian school vs. any other school on the planet?  Which image is the correct image of Jesus Christ? 

I can see an argument for a more "traditional" image, based on which tradition you follow or the case you make, but in general the 7th Ecumenical Council declared that images of Christ were GOOD and ACCEPTABLE.  It never specified which images.  As far as I know. 

Quote
Such an image cannot, under any circumstances, be called an icon, as it cannot represent the prototype, and, therefore cannot be venerated as an icon.

See my questions and concerns above.  Which image represents the prototype and how do you know. 

Quote
Every one of us is an individual, with a physical and spiritual identity, each with out own unique soul. Christ and the Mother of God are no different, they each had their own identities. Do you now see  the arrant absurdity of using another's face to paint an icon of them, or of any saint?

Christ revealed himself as a human being and because of that we can depict him as we BELIEVE that he looked.  But what is more important?  The fact that we CAN depict him b/c of our theology, or whose face is in the icon.  This is a question of theology and one that should be had.  I don't believe that the Ecumenical Councils made a declarative statement in this regard. 

Why can't the Incarnational argument extend to having other faces?  Christ just picked a face to put on his body. Is this the only acceptable one?  Or is his humanity important and not the face?  What about faces of Christ that depict local particularities like the asian Jesus, or the african Jesus, etc?  Is this not being incarnational? 

I have heard the argument that JC was a historical figure and that we have to be true to that, but how does that connect with basic incarnational theology? 

Sorry most of these responses are things that i've been thinking about and havn't really heard that much true discussion on.  Please forgive me for dumping all of this stuff on you!  I hope it all made sense. 


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« Last Edit: February 16, 2009, 10:19:25 PM by cleveland »

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #379 on: February 16, 2009, 09:53:43 PM »
serb,
Doesn't the fact that an icon depicts the hypostasis of the prototype mean that the prototype must be the "model"? Now, by this, I'm not saying that we know what Christ looked like. What I am saying is that the Icon is an Icon of the Hypostasis of an historical person and that historical person alone is the model, which traditional iconography seeks to portray by depicting what has historically been depicted before. In other words, a traditional Icon of Christ is recognisable due to it's similarity to past depictions of Him. But an icon modelled on a contemporary person is an icon of the model by virtue of the fact that an icon is a depiction of an hypostasis and is related to it's prototype by likeness?
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Offline serb1389

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #380 on: February 16, 2009, 11:56:21 PM »
Quote
EDIT: IMAGE LINKS FIXED.
George


EDIT: Changed the last link to the same image hosted at another site... The original image was hosted on a white supremacist website...
Cleveland

Thank you both!  Forgive me for being in such a rush!!!  I will do a better job next time and be more careful!  Please forgive me!!! 

serb,
Doesn't the fact that an icon depicts the hypostasis of the prototype mean that the prototype must be the "model"? Now, by this, I'm not saying that we know what Christ looked like. What I am saying is that the Icon is an Icon of the Hypostasis of an historical person and that historical person alone is the model, which traditional iconography seeks to portray by depicting what has historically been depicted before.

Ok i'm with you so far...

Quote
In other words, a traditional Icon of Christ is recognisable due to it's similarity to past depictions of Him.

Ok i'm willing to concede this point, also based on what you said above.  My question is which "past" depiction is the one that counts.  For example, I put the Icon of Christ from Sinai (I think) where each eye looks like a different aspect of Christ.  Is that a "traditional" Icon?  I would say not.  But yet it is still authoritative or more traditional than the others.  But then we have to get into figuring out what is traditional and how far that delineation can go.  What do you think? 

Quote
But an icon modelled on a contemporary person is an icon of the model by virtue of the fact that an icon is a depiction of an hypostasis and is related to it's prototype by likeness?

Ok I get your point.  If I understand you correctly, if the person is George Clooney, then that is a hypostasis of HIM, and not Jesus Christ, as we have understood him traditionally.  But what about Asian Jesus or African Jesus.  It still looks like him in form but different in color?  But those are still considered better than what has been done in other churches (like St. Sophia in LA). 

I'm just having a problem figuring out how far we can go.  IF it is our job to depict the hypostasis of the Word, Jesus Christ, then how far does that go?  Doesn't he incarnate himself in each culture and people, etc.?  Yet he was a historical reality as you pointed out.  I'm also just trying to make sense of it all. 

Also, I think it's a stretch to say that there is one "traditional" way of iconographing Jesus Christ.  I think that MAYBE we can have an argument that there is a traditional image in the sense that they are all BASICALLY the same, with slight artistic differences.  But as for the rest...just trying to make sense of it. 


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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #381 on: February 17, 2009, 01:27:48 AM »
The Assyrians, Armenians and Syrians don't necessarily use images but don't prohibit them either: their traditions are older than the use of them. So you often see nearly imageless Eastern churches there!

So shouldn't we find this image absurd?

« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 01:29:07 AM by Alveus Lacuna »

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #382 on: February 17, 2009, 01:53:45 AM »
^ Yes.

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #383 on: February 17, 2009, 01:59:05 AM »
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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #384 on: February 17, 2009, 02:01:51 AM »



I read i believe on this forum that the Coptic church has this or a similar image that's a myrrh streaming image .....how does one explain this...
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 02:02:56 AM by stashko »
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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #385 on: February 17, 2009, 02:08:17 AM »
^ Yes.
Why?

Unless someone indicates that historical figures and other ancients posed for statues and the like, the icon renders a modern posing view which may not existed in ancient times.  How can the Virgin with Christ Child pose for an icon painting?   ???

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #386 on: February 17, 2009, 02:12:58 AM »
^ Yes.
Why?

Unless someone indicates that historical figures and other ancients posed for statues and the like, the icon renders a modern posing view which may not existed in ancient times.  How can the Virgin with Christ Child pose for an icon painting?   ???
Yeah, I see your point. ;)
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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #387 on: February 17, 2009, 02:13:22 AM »



I read i believe on this forum that the Coptic church has this or a similar image that's a myrrh streaming image .....how does one explain this...
That God didn't care whether the painting was canonical or not?
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 02:13:37 AM by PeterTheAleut »
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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #388 on: February 17, 2009, 08:27:47 AM »
The Assyrians, Armenians and Syrians don't necessarily use images but don't prohibit them either: their traditions are older than the use of them. So you often see nearly imageless Eastern churches there!

So shouldn't we find this image absurd?



In all of the historical texts I have looked at, and in all of the discussions we have had at seminary, by all indications Luke wrote all of his icons AFTER the ascension of Christ.  So there is no way that the Theotokos and a CHILD Christ could have posed for him.  I think that this icon is supposed to TEACH us that Iconography is OK and that Christ blessed it from his birth b/c of his Incarnation. 

There is no way that Luke knew Christ before he became an Apostle. There's just no explanation for it.

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #389 on: February 17, 2009, 09:18:03 AM »
Ok i'm willing to concede this point, also based on what you said above.  My question is which "past" depiction is the one that counts. 
Actually, I don't think it matters which historical image we use, provided it's an historical image. The point is not which historical image to use, but rather, not to use an hypostasis which isn't a representation of the historical Person.

For example, I put the Icon of Christ from Sinai (I think) where each eye looks like a different aspect of Christ.  Is that a "traditional" Icon?  I would say not.  But yet it is still authoritative or more traditional than the others.  But then we have to get into figuring out what is traditional and how far that delineation can go.  What do you think? 
I would say that it is a traditional Icon depicting the historical Person of the Incarnate Logos. If we knew that it was a self-portrait of the iconographer, then it would be a depiction of the iconographer's hypostasis.

  If I understand you correctly, if the person is George Clooney, then that is a hypostasis of HIM, and not Jesus Christ, as we have understood him traditionally. 
Not exactly. A better understanding of what I'm trying to say would be that if George Clooney was the model for an icon, the icon would be the image of the hypostasis of George Clooney.

But what about Asian Jesus or African Jesus.  It still looks like him in form but different in color?  But those are still considered better than what has been done in other churches (like St. Sophia in LA).
But that is not a depiction of a particular Asian person's hypostasis. It is a depiction of the Hypostasis of Christ as an Asian person. On the other hand, say if the Burmese political activist, Aung San Su Chi was used as a model for an Icon of the Theotokos, the icon would be depicting the hypostasis of Aung San Su Chi, and not the Theotokos. It might be a powerful political poster, but it would not be an Icon of the hypostasis of the Mother of God. Does that make sense?
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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #390 on: February 17, 2009, 11:13:43 AM »
Ok i'm willing to concede this point, also based on what you said above.  My question is which "past" depiction is the one that counts. 
Actually, I don't think it matters which historical image we use, provided it's an historical image. The point is not which historical image to use, but rather, not to use an hypostasis which isn't a representation of the historical Person.

For example, I put the Icon of Christ from Sinai (I think) where each eye looks like a different aspect of Christ.  Is that a "traditional" Icon?  I would say not.  But yet it is still authoritative or more traditional than the others.  But then we have to get into figuring out what is traditional and how far that delineation can go.  What do you think? 
I would say that it is a traditional Icon depicting the historical Person of the Incarnate Logos. If we knew that it was a self-portrait of the iconographer, then it would be a depiction of the iconographer's hypostasis.

  If I understand you correctly, if the person is George Clooney, then that is a hypostasis of HIM, and not Jesus Christ, as we have understood him traditionally. 
Not exactly. A better understanding of what I'm trying to say would be that if George Clooney was the model for an icon, the icon would be the image of the hypostasis of George Clooney.

But what about Asian Jesus or African Jesus.  It still looks like him in form but different in color?  But those are still considered better than what has been done in other churches (like St. Sophia in LA).
But that is not a depiction of a particular Asian person's hypostasis. It is a depiction of the Hypostasis of Christ as an Asian person. On the other hand, say if the Burmese political activist, Aung San Su Chi was used as a model for an Icon of the Theotokos, the icon would be depicting the hypostasis of Aung San Su Chi, and not the Theotokos. It might be a powerful political poster, but it would not be an Icon of the hypostasis of the Mother of God. Does that make sense?

George,

Everything you said makes sense.  If you can then help me to understand some other things, I would be indebted to you. 

If our intent is to present the hypostasis of an event, or a person, then what about Icons such as the icon of God the Father as a person?  Would that Icon not then be "correct" or "traditional"?  I know this topic has been addressed in other threads, i'm not trying to resurrect it, but just trying to understand the points you are making by making this comparison. 

Also, in that discussion, I was under the understanding that unless a particular icon is DECLARED heretical by an ecumenical council, it's still "up for discussion" in a sense.  So that being said, would we then just label it as untraditional and not the best Icon, or is it still good for veneration? 

I have a lot of other questions based on these tracts of thought, but i'll wait for your answers to these b/c I think most of my other questions stem from these basic issues. 

Also,


For example, I put the Icon of Christ from Sinai (I think) where each eye looks like a different aspect of Christ.  Is that a "traditional" Icon?  I would say not.  But yet it is still authoritative or more traditional than the others.  But then we have to get into figuring out what is traditional and how far that delineation can go.  What do you think? 
I would say that it is a traditional Icon depicting the historical Person of the Incarnate Logos. If we knew that it was a self-portrait of the iconographer, then it would be a depiction of the iconographer's hypostasis.

The problem I have with this is that it's not a "traditional" icon b/c his face is different than how it appeared in reality/history.  Did Christ walk around with two faces?  I think not, plus that would have christological implications.  So then is that Icon no longer traditional? 

Also, in light of the other arguments you posed about the hypostasis of George Clooney or Aung San Su Chi, what does that say about our saints.  Would you then not be able to make the case that we are venerating the hypostasis of St. John of Damascus, or St. Mary of Egypt?  But isn't our understanding that their image is an image of Christ, b/c they lived a saintly life? 

Perhaps then we can make the argument that it has to be a SAINT who is depicted, and not just a random person?  How far does that go? 

Sorry, just trying to figure it all out! 

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #391 on: February 17, 2009, 02:13:44 PM »
If our intent is to present the hypostasis of an event, or a person, then what about Icons such as the icon of God the Father as a person?  Would that Icon not then be "correct" or "traditional"?  I know this topic has been addressed in other threads, i'm not trying to resurrect it, but just trying to understand the points you are making by making this comparison. 
Icons, as St. Theodore Studite says, are images of Hypostases, not Nature. We cannot depict Nature in Icons, so an Icon of the Father is an Icon of the hypostasis of the Father, not the Nature of the Father. Whether it's "traditional" is another issue. It certainly has been traditional for some centuries now.

Also, in that discussion, I was under the understanding that unless a particular icon is DECLARED heretical by an ecumenical council, it's still "up for discussion" in a sense.  So that being said, would we then just label it as untraditional and not the best Icon, or is it still good for veneration? 
I would agree that this particular Icon, if indeed it was modelled on a contemporary actress is not the best Icon, but I think that the practice of modelling Icons on contemporary hypostases rather than depicting the historical hypostasis is certainly an untraditional practice and a bad one at that.

The problem I have with this is that it's not a "traditional" icon b/c his face is different than how it appeared in reality/history.  Did Christ walk around with two faces?  I think not, plus that would have christological implications.  So then is that Icon no longer traditional?
I think we need to define what we mean by "traditional". A "traditional" Icon depicts the hypostasis of the person the Icon is an Icon of. In the case of Christ, we have the tradition of the "Icons Not Made With Hands" (the Mandylion etc). Now, whether you agree that these were actual  "photographic images" of His Visage is not really important. What is important is that what iconographers centuries ago did was to depict Christ's hypostasis based on these "Icons Not Made With Hands", and their Icons were copied, and those Icons were copied, and those Icons were copied......so each successive generation of Iconographers is referring back to a depiction of a depiction of a depiction of the Hypostasis of Christ. In other words, their "model" is "what was seen of Him before", not a different person we see today.

Also, in light of the other arguments you posed about the hypostasis of George Clooney or Aung San Su Chi, what does that say about our saints.  Would you then not be able to make the case that we are venerating the hypostasis of St. John of Damascus, or St. Mary of Egypt?  But isn't our understanding that their image is an image of Christ, b/c they lived a saintly life? 
I think the trouble arises when an Icon is identified as having been modelled on a particular person (i.e. an hypostasis) which is not the hypostasis (particular person) the Icon is supposed to be depicting.


Perhaps then we can make the argument that it has to be a SAINT who is depicted, and not just a random person?  How far does that go? 
Icons do not just depict hypostases of Saints. The Icon of St. Demetrios also depicts the hypostasis of Lyaeus, and the Icons of many Martyred Saints martyrdoms depict the hypostases of their executioners.
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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #392 on: February 17, 2009, 02:45:43 PM »
The Assyrians, Armenians and Syrians don't necessarily use images but don't prohibit them either: their traditions are older than the use of them. So you often see nearly imageless Eastern churches there!

So shouldn't we find this image absurd?



IMO legend not doctrine nor historical fact.
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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #393 on: February 17, 2009, 02:48:09 PM »



I read i believe on this forum that the Coptic church has this or a similar image that's a myrrh streaming image .....how does one explain this...

Rather close to a Protestant icon, isn't it?

Seconding what's been said: that something that doesn't entirely follow the canons but has been prayed with for a long time can become an icon and even a miraculous one is not unknown to Eastern Christians.
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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #394 on: February 17, 2009, 02:59:48 PM »



I read i believe on this forum that the Coptic church has this or a similar image that's a myrrh streaming image .....how does one explain this...

Rather close to a Protestant icon, isn't it?

Seconding what's been said: that something that doesn't entirely follow the canons but has been prayed with for a long time can become an icon and even a miraculous one is not unknown to Eastern Christians.

Thank You!  excellent explanation better than peter's answer............
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #395 on: March 31, 2009, 04:46:38 AM »
Also consider that in iconography, the Mother of God is never shown alone, but with her Son.














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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #396 on: March 31, 2009, 07:31:24 AM »
Some comments on these images:

 - The Holy Protection is a detail, a kind of "shorthand", derived from the full composition of the festal icon which documents the miracle of the appearance of the Mother of God at Blachernae.

 - The various Of the Seven Arrows (also known as Softener of Evil Hearts) are derived from western European religious art, which, from about the 14th century (if not before), had begun to lose its iconographic qualities. This is no real surprise, as the decrees of the Quinisext Council on iconography and other matters were not acted upon by the church of Rome. Iconography gave way to religious art, which lost most, if not all, of its liturgical purpose and quality. The composition of paintings and the form of statues (the latter having been proscribed by the Quinisext Council, therefore have not been part of standard Orthodox praxis since then) were now the product of the creativity and imagination of the painter or sculptor, allowing such works to be signed. Patrons were even at liberty to direct the painter or sculptor to model a saint or the Virgin on their own features, or that of their wife or other family member, something which is completely unacceptable to Orthodoxy and iconographic canon and tradition.

The Seven Arrows motif is derived from the Roman Catholic devotion of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin, a devotion originating in the 13thC, and which has never existed in Orthodoxy. The imagery of the Virgin holding the swords is from this devotion, a variant is the swords piercing the Virgin's immaculate heart, visible over her chest.

 - the image third from the bottom, likely of Cretan School provenance (which became very heavily influenced by Venetian religious art styles)  may well be part of a Deesis (Supplication) series (Christ in the middle panel, flanked by panels of the Mother of God on the left, St John the Baptist on the right). Or, it may be a detail of a larger icon, or, not an icon at all, but a Venetian painting (note that the Virgin's omophorion is blue and her inner garment is red, and the stars of perpetual virginity on her head and shoulders do not appear to be present at all. Even in very old and damaged icons, some trace of this essential motif can usually be found).

 - The Multiplier of Wheat shows the Mother of God surrounded by a mandorla, an oval motif of rays and stars which represents the uncreated light and glory of God. This is a major error in iconography, as the Virgin, while, of course, partaking of the glory and life of God, is not divine herself. She does not generate this light. Christ alone may be depicted in this light, such as in icons of Christ in Majesty (Christ enthroned, surrounded by the bodiless hosts), the Transfiguration, the Dormition of His mother (where He is seen holding her soul in the form of a babe in swaddling clothes, surely one of the loveliest of iconographic motifs, and truly loaded with theological meaning), and in icons of the Mother of God of the Sign, where He, as Christ Emmanuel, is surrounded by a circular mandorla over His mother's body as she holds her arms raised in supplication. By contrast, a mandorla is often seen in western images (paintings and statues) of the Virgin, notably in Our Lady of Guadelupe.

 - Mother of God Seraphim-Diveyevo (second from the bottom): This has become famous as the icon to which St Seraphim of Sarov prayed before.

Why am I raising all this? Many would dismiss this as nothing more than an anti-western rant. Not so. I am completely aware of the comprehensive displacement of conventional, canonical iconography with images derived from western art, which often bore little in the way of integrity and fidelity to Orthodox liturgical and doctrinal tradition. This displacement began in around the 15thC, but was in full swing by the 17th-18thC. Therefore, particularly in regions such as western Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (bordering with Poland, Austria-Hungary, etc), the Balkans, and many of the Greek islands and provinces which were under Venetian or other administration, such images soon were seen as "the norm", and persist to this day. Hence the persistence of such images, which, in recent years, are often rendered in the geometric, "non-realistic" artistic style associated with iconography. St Seraphim probably had little choice but to venerate images such as these, as these images were everywhere.

What can be done about such images? One solution is to ensure that budding iconographers are not only taught the artistic techniques of painting an icon, but to be (perhaps more importantly) thoroughly trained in what is, and is not, permissible to be painted. Of the images of the Mother of God which were deficient, but became associated with miracles or saints (such as the Seraphim-Diveyevo), it would be wise to direct iconographers painting these images to paint a motif of Christ or the Holy Trinity in the upper border of the composition, and to ensure that the Virgin's insignia of the MP-ΘY inscription and the stars of perpetual virginity be painted. In this way, doctrinal and theological integrity is maintained.


« Last Edit: March 31, 2009, 07:40:42 AM by LBK »
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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #397 on: March 31, 2009, 11:09:38 AM »
Just out of curiousity ... why is it necessarily a "bad" thing to depict the Theotokos alone?  Do we feel the same way about any of the other saints?
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Re: Canonical Icons?
« Reply #398 on: March 31, 2009, 11:43:31 AM »
Some comments on these images:

 Thank you so much for explaining these paintings; many people (myself included) sometimes are fooled into believing a painting is an Orthodox icon if it has Greek lettering.  I think we also forget that there is a defined theology both in their writing and usage.  In other words, Orthodox icons are not simply 'pictures' or 'paintings' created to adorn homes and churches.
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Icon of the Holy Trinity
« Reply #399 on: May 11, 2009, 10:40:16 PM »
I was told that no icons of the Holy Trinty were allowed,  is that true? None that depicted the Father,the Son and the Holy Spirit. http://www.ec-patr.org/pic_athos/Eikona_003.htm
« Last Edit: May 11, 2009, 10:44:52 PM by ChristusDominus »
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Re: Icon of the Holy Trinity
« Reply #400 on: May 11, 2009, 10:45:22 PM »
I was told that an icon of the Holy Trinty was not allowed,  is that true?

Well if you're talking about any icon representing God the Father, that would certainly not be allowed.  There is of course the Trinity icon by the hand of Andrei Rublev, one of the most revered icons of all-time - http://tars.rollins.edu/Foreign_Lang/Russian/trinity.html

ETA: There are instances of icons depicting God the Father as linked above, but I don't believe this to be the norm.  Certainly in my humble opinion this is a grave theological error.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2009, 10:53:21 PM by cholmes »

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Re: Icon of the Holy Trinity
« Reply #401 on: May 11, 2009, 10:45:35 PM »
If you click the Ancient of Days tag below, you will see other threads where this has been discussed.

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Re: Icon of the Holy Trinity
« Reply #402 on: May 11, 2009, 10:55:26 PM »
If you click the Ancient of Days tag below, you will see other threads where this has been discussed.
OK, I'll give that a try.
There is no more evident sign that anyone is a saint and of the number of the elect, than to see him leading a good life and at the same time a prey to desolation, suffering, and trials. - Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

Offline ChristusDominus

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Re: Icon of the Holy Trinity
« Reply #403 on: May 11, 2009, 10:59:23 PM »
I was told that an icon of the Holy Trinty was not allowed,  is that true?

Well if you're talking about any icon representing God the Father, that would certainly not be allowed.  There is of course the Trinity icon by the hand of Andrei Rublev, one of the most revered icons of all-time - http://tars.rollins.edu/Foreign_Lang/Russian/trinity.html

ETA: There are instances of icons depicting God the Father as linked above, but I don't believe this to be the norm.  Certainly in my humble opinion this is a grave theological error.
This is interesting since a Byzantine Catholic bishop once told me it was never to be allowed. I was just wondering if the EO held on to the same opinion.
There is no more evident sign that anyone is a saint and of the number of the elect, than to see him leading a good life and at the same time a prey to desolation, suffering, and trials. - Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

Offline cholmes

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Re: Icon of the Holy Trinity
« Reply #404 on: May 11, 2009, 11:03:01 PM »
I was told that an icon of the Holy Trinty was not allowed,  is that true?

Well if you're talking about any icon representing God the Father, that would certainly not be allowed.  There is of course the Trinity icon by the hand of Andrei Rublev, one of the most revered icons of all-time - http://tars.rollins.edu/Foreign_Lang/Russian/trinity.html

ETA: There are instances of icons depicting God the Father as linked above, but I don't believe this to be the norm.  Certainly in my humble opinion this is a grave theological error.
This is interesting since a Byzantine Catholic bishop once told me it was never to be allowed. I was just wondering if the EO held on to the same opinion.

Well I suppose the fact that they exist at all shows there is no uniform teaching/enforcement of the matter.   ;)