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Author Topic: God the Father in Iconography  (Read 31388 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #135 on: September 20, 2008, 02:03:29 AM »

If you see from the threads, some Russian Orthodox Jurisdictions (like the skete the icon came from) proudly display God the Father on their icons even though no other Orthodox Jurisdiction practices such a thing.
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« Reply #136 on: September 20, 2008, 02:15:39 AM »

Well then my question remains, as Orthodox people do you feel that this crucifix would be inappropriate for me to keep?  I can't help but feel guilty or wrong about it, despite its immense beauty.  A part of me wants to rationalize it and say that even though it's not a theologically correct icon, that as it's already been reproduced I might as well enjoy it and proudly display it.  But I think that it will always bother me knowing that it violates church authority...
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« Reply #137 on: September 20, 2008, 02:25:05 AM »

My digital camera is quite abysmal at up-close photos, so these are pretty blurry, but perhaps they will be helpful to you:
As far as the Greek letters, I have no idea what they are.

The Greek letters would, of course, be useful...but looking at the pictures you posted, I have to agree with Ozgeorge: it is an Icon of the 'Ancient of Days' as witnessed by the triangular halo. But it is a nicely written Icon, artfully done...If you choose to get rid of it that is, of course, your choice. However, if it's any consolation, the depiction of the Holy Ghost as a dove has not been regarded as 'uncanoncial' by any source o which I'm aware.
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« Reply #138 on: September 20, 2008, 02:31:25 AM »

So can one understand some sort of separate designation for the "Ancient of Days" that is not necessarily "God the Father"?  As in Christ as the Ancient of Days?  I realize this would probably be a stretch with the depiction clearly illustrating the Trinity.

I take it that many Orthodox take no issue with this sort of thing?
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« Reply #139 on: September 20, 2008, 02:37:33 AM »

I take it that many Orthodox take no issue with this sort of thing?
Well, I don't (but that's no recommendation!)
Seriously though, it seems to be mainly some in the Slavic Churches who have a problem with it (probably because of the Great Synod of Moscow 0f 1666-7 which introduced the Nikonian reforms (and deposed Patriarch Nikon whose reforms it adopted). This deposing of the Patriarch was later retracted along with some anathemas of the Synod (particularly against the Old Believers). It was, in fact, the Old Believers who were depicting God the Father in Icons, hence the Moscow Synod banned it.
There was also a schism in the Matthewite Greek Old Calendarist Church over the depiction of God the Father, but I think the protesting schism might have died out. Fr. Anastasios would be the best person to ask about that.
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« Reply #140 on: September 20, 2008, 05:08:34 AM »

Well then my question remains, as Orthodox people do you feel that this crucifix would be inappropriate for me to keep?  I can't help but feel guilty or wrong about it, despite its immense beauty.  A part of me wants to rationalize it and say that even though it's not a theologically correct icon, that as it's already been reproduced I might as well enjoy it and proudly display it.  But I think that it will always bother me knowing that it violates church authority...

I have that cross and think it's beautiful. I have no qualms about owning it, now or ever, but one should follow their own conscience. However, I wouldn't let anything that has been posted on this thread deter you from owning this lovely item. If in doubt, check with the priest you are talking with.   
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« Reply #141 on: September 20, 2008, 11:07:14 AM »

Well then my question remains, as Orthodox people do you feel that this crucifix would be inappropriate for me to keep?  I can't help but feel guilty or wrong about it, despite its immense beauty.  A part of me wants to rationalize it and say that even though it's not a theologically correct icon, that as it's already been reproduced I might as well enjoy it and proudly display it.  But I think that it will always bother me knowing that it violates church authority...

Here's my personal opinion ... send back the icon and demand a full refund or exchange for a conventional crucifix without God the Father for it is written in Scriptures that no one has seen God the Father.  The people at the skete will understand.
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« Reply #142 on: September 20, 2008, 11:13:17 AM »

Here's my personal opinion ... send back the icon and demand a full refund or exchange for a conventional crucifix without God the Father for it is written in Scriptures that no one has seen God the Father.  The people at the skete will understand.
Thank you for your personal opinion, but I prefer this Person's opinion:

Quote from: John 14:7-11
"If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him."
Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us."
Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves."
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« Reply #143 on: September 20, 2008, 11:26:26 AM »

^^ Mr. Y., you know me better by now.   Wink

Christ never said that He was the Father; Only that He was One in essence with the Father - big difference.

While people have seen Christ and depicted Him accordingly, the transitive property doesn't apply in that seeing Christ does not equal seeing God the Father.  Christ is merely an image of God the Father just as we are images of God the Father as well.  I can draw an icon of myself and call myself God the Father except that would amount to idolatry and blasphemy - see my point?

Take the icon of the Holy Trinity - usually depicted as the 3 Angels who visited Sarah and Abraham.  No one saw God the Father; hence, He couldn't be depicted.  Christ was depicted as an angel (for he was an Angel of the Lord) back in the OT and the Holy Spirit was also depicted as an angel.

If you were to drawn an icon of the Holy Trinity, would you draw Christ twice and a dove?
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« Reply #144 on: September 20, 2008, 11:35:07 AM »

Christ never said that He was the Father; Only that He was One in essence with the Father - big difference.

While people have seen Christ and depicted Him accordingly, the transitive property doesn't apply in that seeing Christ does not equal seeing God the Father.  Christ is merely an image of God the Father just as we are images of God the Father as well.  I can draw an icon of myself and call myself God the Father except that would amount to idolatry and blasphemy - see my point?
You are not Christ. You will never be one in essence with the Father. Christ is--or do you not believe this?
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« Reply #145 on: September 20, 2008, 11:40:28 AM »

You are not Christ. You will never be one in essence with the Father. Christ is--or do you not believe this?

Like my father would say in a rough English translation of a Greek saying, we're having a conversation and both of us are missing each other's point.   Wink

That was my point.  I'm not Christ and I'm not one in essence with the Father.  To draw an icon of God the Father based on seeing Christ alone is tantamount to blasphemy.
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« Reply #146 on: September 20, 2008, 11:43:37 AM »

You are not Christ. You will never be one in essence with the Father. Christ is--or do you not believe this?

Like my father would say in a rough English translation of a Greek saying, we're having a conversation and both of us are missing each other's point.   Wink
I'm getting that feeling too. laugh

Quote
That was my point.  I'm not Christ and I'm not one in essence with the Father.  To draw an icon of God the Father based on seeing Christ alone is tantamount to blasphemy.
That makes sense. I was trying to say that an icon of Christ is an icon of the Father, and that no depiction of the Father is therefore necessary. I think that's pretty much what you were saying too.
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« Reply #147 on: September 20, 2008, 11:47:40 AM »

^ You hit the Jackpot - Christ is an icon of God the Father NOT God the Father Himself.  No separate depictions of God the Father are necessary or permitted.

Didn't that sound like one of those legal disclaimers during Sports TV broadcasts.   Wink
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« Reply #148 on: September 20, 2008, 12:08:01 PM »

^ I agree. Cool
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« Reply #149 on: September 20, 2008, 12:52:49 PM »

You are not Christ. You will never be one in essence with the Father. Christ is--or do you not believe this?

Like my father would say in a rough English translation of a Greek saying, we're having a conversation and both of us are missing each other's point.   Wink

That was my point.  I'm not Christ and I'm not one in essence with the Father.  To draw an icon of God the Father based on seeing Christ alone is tantamount to blasphemy.
You better get ready, then, for the hounds to descend upon you. Wink  Most importantly, though, there has been a lot of pontificating, my own included, on this and a related thread, and there have been a few people very quick to challenge whatever authority these pontificators cite as support.  If you're going to start your own line of pontification, you had better come ready with an airtight case built on a solid foundation of supporting evidence.
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« Reply #150 on: September 20, 2008, 01:12:53 PM »

You better get ready, then, for the hounds to descend upon you. Wink  Most importantly, though, there has been a lot of pontificating, my own included, on this and a related thread, and there have been a few people very quick to challenge whatever authority these pontificators cite as support.  If you're going to start your own line of pontification, you had better come ready with an airtight case built on a solid foundation of supporting evidence.

Who said I was pontificating?   Wink
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« Reply #151 on: September 20, 2008, 05:09:37 PM »

If you see from the threads, some Russian Orthodox Jurisdictions (like the skete the icon came from) proudly display God the Father on their icons even though no other Orthodox Jurisdiction practices such a thing.


Greek



Serbian



Ethiopian



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« Reply #152 on: September 20, 2008, 05:11:14 PM »

Quote
“The vision of God (in His Essence) remains impossible for mortal and finite man.  And yet, the Old Testament, as well as sacred history, relates to us that there were appearances of God the Father, of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit.  Is this in contradiction to what was said previously?  Not at all.  Even though it is impossible for men to see the Essence of God, it is still possible for them to see God with their sensible eyes or their intellect in forms or shapes that God might will to appear to them in His Divine Energies.  These appearances take place by way of the divine economy (or dispensation) so as man might not to die from the vision of God.  Thus Abraham saw… Moses saw…Isaiah saw…Daniel saw… Amos saw… etc.”

-Elder Cleopa of Romania, The Truth of Our Faith
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« Reply #153 on: September 20, 2008, 05:18:18 PM »

Quit true. I'd also add that buzuxi's earlier quoting of the Divine Liturgy to the effect that the Ancient of Days became a child is not a proof of his point, as the name "Ancient of Days" is common to all three persons. There is another liturgical quote to the effect that Daniel's vision, revealed by the Holy Spirit, was a vision of the Father and the Son.
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« Reply #154 on: September 20, 2008, 06:56:23 PM »


The context of what I said changed when the posts were moved to this thread.   Cool
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« Reply #155 on: September 22, 2008, 12:44:14 PM »

“The vision of God (in His Essence) remains impossible for mortal and finite man.  And yet, the Old Testament, as well as sacred history, relates to us that there were appearances of God the Father, of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit.  Is this in contradiction to what was said previously?  Not at all.  Even though it is impossible for men to see the Essence of God, it is still possible for them to see God with their sensible eyes or their intellect in forms or shapes that God might will to appear to them in His Divine Energies.  These appearances take place by way of the divine economy (or dispensation) so as man might not to die from the vision of God.  Thus Abraham saw… Moses saw…Isaiah saw…Daniel saw… Amos saw… etc.”

-Elder Cleopa of Romania, The Truth of Our Faith

Ok, I'm just going to comment on this. A vision is not actually the same as seeing. It is true that saints such as Moses, Abraham, ect. have seen visions of God the Father. And Iconography of Him is thus correct when it is used in this context. We should not assume that the angel the Father appeared in to Abraham, is truly His image and it should thus not be used in any other context, otherwise we make up an idol of something that is not real and only the things of our imagination. Now since the Divine nature is unknowable, we can not truly see it, however of course Christ has taken upon the human nature which is thus something that we can interact with. So we can depict Christ accurately because the flesh we see is none other than God the Logos' Flesh. I know that I'm just reiterating what has been posted before, but I just wanted to put that out there. This is consistent with Church teaching.
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« Reply #156 on: October 06, 2008, 03:19:09 PM »

Ok, I'm just going to comment on this. A vision is not actually the same as seeing. It is true that saints such as Moses, Abraham, ect. have seen visions of God the Father. And Iconography of Him is thus correct when it is used in this context. We should not assume that the angel the Father appeared in to Abraham, is truly His image and it should thus not be used in any other context, otherwise we make up an idol of something that is not real and only the things of our imagination. Now since the Divine nature is unknowable, we can not truly see it, however of course Christ has taken upon the human nature which is thus something that we can interact with. So we can depict Christ accurately because the flesh we see is none other than God the Logos' Flesh. I know that I'm just reiterating what has been posted before, but I just wanted to put that out there. This is consistent with Church teaching.

I'm afraid the phrase "a vision is not actually the same as seeing" seems oxymoronic. "Vision", in this sense, means precisely "something seen". Does this mean that icons of the visions of scripture cannot be made? To the degree that the symbolic has to yield to the seen, I have to insist that the Rublev "trinity" is more objectionable than (for example) the vision of Isaiah in Ch. 6, because the last is not symbolic, but simply depicts what Isaiah saw.
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« Reply #157 on: October 07, 2008, 03:09:54 PM »

A student of mine recently returned from Sophia, Bulgaria.  While there she had the chance to visit the Patriarchal Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky.  She brought a book with illustrations and I noticed in the main dome was Christ (obvious from the tri-radiant nimbus) and holding Him was an old bearded figure.  I recoiled because I immediately came to the conclusion that that which was depicted could only be God the Father. 

If your student had a chance to go to Rila, she would've seen God the Father icons in the domes over the portico.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3023/2524793522_8261332fae.jpg

The icon of God the Father is also in the dome of Holy Virgin Cathedral, in San Francisco. I didn't get a good look of it when I was there a few years back, and assumed it was Christ enthroned - but a later picture I saw taken by a friend showed it was God the Father.

In both instances they are done in Byzantine iconographic style, which has been a bit perplexing to me. I assumed that the idea of depicting God the Father as an old man carried over visavis 18th century reforms in Russia - and somehow made its way into Greece later...? I don't know.

I think this is where I'll opt for Fr. A's explanation of "just deal with it."  Grin
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« Reply #158 on: November 20, 2008, 10:39:12 PM »

I'm afraid the phrase "a vision is not actually the same as seeing" seems oxymoronic. "Vision", in this sense, means precisely "something seen". Does this mean that icons of the visions of scripture cannot be made? To the degree that the symbolic has to yield to the seen, I have to insist that the Rublev "trinity" is more objectionable than (for example) the vision of Isaiah in Ch. 6, because the last is not symbolic, but simply depicts what Isaiah saw.
Well the point I was trying to make was that seeing a vision is not the same as being able to see and feel the Divine Essence. As we all know this is impossible and only the Divine Energies can be seen and experienced. Now unless we are depicting an event that has taken place what are we attempting to portray? Because God the Father does not have an actual hypostatic image that we can understand what are we showing? If we are not referring to a time when God the Father made an existence shown through His Energies (such as the Hospitality of Abraham) then we are merely using our imagination to try and decided what the Essence of God the Father looks like and we are trying to depict the undepictable.
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« Reply #159 on: March 05, 2009, 06:07:27 AM »

Hope nobody minds if I revive this thread with a couple of posts about the depiction of the Ancient of Days and the question of whether we should see the image as either the First Person of the Trinity (the Father) or the Second (the Son.)

I think that this informatiom is useful to provide balance in what can sometimes get to be very heated debates.

-oOo-


The Seventh Ecumenical Council:


"Eternal be the memory of those who know and accept
and believe the visions of the prophets as the Divinity
Himself shaped and impressed them, whatever the chorus
of the prophets saw and narrated, and who hold to the written
and unwritten tradition of the Apostles which was passed on
to the Fathers, and on account of this make icons of the Holy
things and honour them."

"Anathema to those who do not accept the visions of the prophets
and who reject the iconographies which have been seen by them
(O wonder!) even before the Incarnation of the Word, but either
speak empty words about having seen the unattainable and unseen
Essence, or on the one hand pay heed to those who have seen these
appearances of icons, types and forms of the truth, while on the other
hand they cannot bear to have icons made of the Word become man
and His sufferings on our behalf."


St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite, in his prolegomena to the Seventh Ecumenical Council,
sums up the Council's decrees on this subject as follows:

"The present Council, in the letter which it sent to the Church
of Alexandria, on the one hand blesses those who know and
accept, and therefore make icons of and honour, the visions
and theophanies of the Prophets, as God Himself shaped and
impressed them on their minds. And on the other hand it
anathematizes those who do not accept the iconographies
of such visions before the incarnation of God the Word.
It follows that the Beginningless Father must be represented
in icons as He appeared to the Prophet Daniel, as the Ancient of Days."


NB: It follows that the Beginningless Father must be represented
in icons as He appeared to the Prophet Daniel, as the Ancient of Days."
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« Reply #160 on: March 05, 2009, 06:10:00 AM »

WHO is the Ancient of Days? 
What do the holy Fathers think?


The term "Ancient of Days", like "God", is applicable to all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

Therefore there is no contradiction between allowing that Christ can be called "the Ancient of Days", as in the hymnology for the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord, and believing that "the Ancient of Days" in the vision of Daniel is God the Father.

Hieromartyr Hippolytus of Rome (P.G. 10, 37), St. Athanasius the Great (V.E.P. 35, 121), St. John Chrysostom (P.G. 57, 133; E.P.E. 8, 640-2), St. Gregory Palamas (Homilies 14, E.P.E. 9, 390), St. Cyril of Alexandria (P.G. 70, 1461), St. Symeon of Thessalonica (Interpretation of the Sacred Symbol, p. 412), and St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite (The Rudder, Zakynthos, 1864, p. 320; Chicago, 1957, p. 420) all agree in identifying “the Ancient of Days” in the vision of Daniel with God the Father.

They interpret the vision as portraying the Ascension of Christ ("the Son of Man") to God the Father ("the Ancient of Days"), from Whom He receives the Kingdom and the Glory, together with the power to judge the living and the dead. Thus St. Cyril of Alexandria writes: “Behold, again Emmanuel is manifestly and clearly seen ascending to God the Father in heaven… The Son of Man has appeared in the flesh and reached the Ancient of Days, that is, He has ascended to the throne of His eternal Father and has been given honor and worship…” (Letter 55, in The Fathers of the Church, vol. 77, Washington: CUA Press, 1987, pp. 28, 29)."

Source: Vladimir Moss, "THE ICON OF THE HOLY TRINITY"
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« Reply #161 on: February 11, 2010, 07:19:01 PM »

Dear fourm members,
I'm a Catholic but I'm very interested in icons. One question I have always had is if God the Father can be pictured on icons. I have heard that the answer is no, but I have seen icons showing the Father. So my question is what is the Orthodox teaching on showing the Father in icons?
An example of God the Father icon in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
http://www.xxc.ru/english/foto/inside/s01/f003.htm
Thanks,
CL
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« Reply #162 on: February 11, 2010, 07:38:14 PM »


It is not appropriate.

After all, which of us mere humans has ever truly seen God the Father?  We may "know" Him, but, have we seen Him?

Therefore, it is best not to depict God the Father in our manmade icons.

The one icon that has been deemed more-or-less acceptable is Rublev's Holy Trinity - the Hospitality of Abraham.  In that icon the Holy Trinity is depicted as the three angels/strangers who visited Abraham.

However, I hope and pray that God the Father is not offended by the icons which depict Him, as one hangs in the center of the iconostasis in my own church.  My priest (who was not the priest at the time the icons were commissioned) once discussed this with me.  However, aside from taking it down, what else can be done?  He says it's not done in any form of disrespect, and until told by the bishops that it is unacceptable, it will remain where it is.

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« Reply #163 on: February 11, 2010, 07:38:46 PM »

Might want to check out this thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10122.0.html
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« Reply #164 on: February 11, 2010, 09:32:43 PM »

The short of it is, it is wrong to depict icons of God the Father, because He did not appear in any depictable form to man. The entire reason why icons of Christ were justified at the 7th ecumenical council was that the Son of God was incarnate and therefore visible and depictable; the Theotokos and the saints were also depictable because their human nature was deified through Christ. Angels of course were always depictable since Old Testament times when they appeared in various forms to the Prophets. The Father never appeared this way. There are Fathers who have written against such icons as well as canons of local councils.

That said, many people have been ignorant of this and thence you'll see icons of God the Father in Orthodox Churches.
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« Reply #165 on: April 15, 2010, 10:31:23 PM »

The short of it is, it is wrong to depict icons of God the Father, because He did not appear in any depictable form to man.
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That said, many people have been ignorant of this and thence you'll see icons of God the Father in Orthodox Churches.

One ironic thing is the huge icon of the New Testament Old-Man-Son-Bird icon which is the patronal icon in the monastery church at Jordanville.  Yet if you walk into the bookshop you will find booklets railing against this icon and the same monks selling the books are venerating it every night at the end of Compline!!    So "ignorance" is not the case really.  Grin

Here is a photo of the monastery church.  The icon is on the right in the large gilded wooden stand.
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« Reply #166 on: October 08, 2010, 09:57:56 PM »

Just in case anyone is interested, this fresco is on the ceiling of the entrance to the main church at Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, and the website I found the picture on says it dates to around 1000 A.D., but I'm not sure how accurate that is. They might have gotten the founding of Athos confused with the date of the fresco. Anyway, it seems like the greatest beacons of Orthodoxy have no issue with it, so I'll just remain happily indifferent.

(For those who don't know, you just click on the image below to make it larger.)
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« Reply #167 on: October 09, 2010, 11:11:47 AM »

Just in case anyone is interested, this fresco is on the ceiling of the entrance to the main church at Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, and the website I found the picture on says it dates to around 1000 A.D., but I'm not sure how accurate that is. They might have gotten the founding of Athos confused with the date of the fresco. Anyway, it seems like the greatest beacons of Orthodoxy have no issue with it, so I'll just remain happily indifferent.

There is no way this dates from AD 1000. The monastery itself, perhaps, but not this mural. Stylistically, it appears to have been painted no earlier than the 18th century. The compositional details (Christ holding the cross, God the Father's triangular halo around God the Father, etc) are derived from Roman Catholic religious paintings. Such imagery was essentially unknown in the Orthodox world before the 16th century.
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« Reply #168 on: October 09, 2010, 11:21:07 AM »

I was looking at my Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God and it appears that God the Father is depicted right above Christ and the Theotokos.  The Kursk Icon has led many to salvation and brought great healing upon the people in Russia and abroad.  If God is willing to work through an Icon with a depiction of God the Father, it leads me to believe that He must not be all that upset over it. 

The Kursk Icon is the most beautiful of all Icons, IMO. Smiley
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« Reply #169 on: October 09, 2010, 11:26:53 AM »

Seth, the short answer to the matter of God the Father and the Kursk-Root icon is that the broad border of the icon depicting the Father and the OT prophets was added to the original icon of the Mother of God (which is quite small) several centuries after the discovery of the icon in the 1290s.
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« Reply #170 on: October 09, 2010, 12:39:30 PM »

I was looking at my Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God and it appears that God the Father is depicted right above Christ and the Theotokos.  The Kursk Icon has led many to salvation and brought great healing upon the people in Russia and abroad.  If God is willing to work through an Icon with a depiction of God the Father, it leads me to believe that He must not be all that upset over it.

I hared an explanation that it is actually Christ as the Ancient of Days.

Btw, there's an article worth reading: "The Icon of the Holy Trinity [in Which the Father Is Portrayed as an Old Man with White Hair]" by Vladimir Moss - http://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/books/downloads.php?book_id=237 (PDF file, pp. 197-204).
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« Reply #171 on: October 09, 2010, 01:27:30 PM »

Btw, there's an article worth reading: "The Icon of the Holy Trinity [in Which the Father Is Portrayed as an Old Man with White Hair]" by Vladimir Moss - http://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/books/downloads.php?book_id=237 (PDF file, pp. 197-204).

I've just noticed that Fr. Ambrose was already quoting it in this thread.
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« Reply #172 on: October 09, 2010, 02:50:20 PM »

Seth, the short answer to the matter of God the Father and the Kursk-Root icon is that the broad border of the icon depicting the Father and the OT prophets was added to the original icon of the Mother of God (which is quite small) several centuries after the discovery of the icon in the 1290s.

I'm aware of that.  However, that same Icon, even with the frame added by the Tsar, healed St. Seraphim of Sarov and continued to rescue the Russian people from their enemies.  I'm not looking for an argument, just sharing my thoughts. Smiley
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« Reply #173 on: January 04, 2011, 04:54:29 AM »

CONTEXT NOTE: The following discussion started as a response to this post: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,32603.msg515353.html#msg515353 -PtA


Christ is in the middle, from the other icons that depict him wearing the same colors. I don't know about the other two.

This is my favorite icon of the Holy Trinity:
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« Reply #174 on: January 04, 2011, 05:17:39 AM »

This is my favorite icon of the Holy Trinity:

What does that triangle around the head of God the Father symbolize?
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« Reply #175 on: January 04, 2011, 05:33:48 AM »

This is my favorite icon of the Holy Trinity:
What does that triangle around the head of God the Father symbolize?

Perhaps it represents the trinity, since the Father is the "origin" of Jesus (and one would assume the Holy Spirit); ie. Jesus is the Son of the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father...?

"But if we say that the Father is the origin of the Son and greater than the Son, we do not suggest any precedence in time or superiority in nature of the Father over the Son (for through His agency He made the ages ), or superiority in any other respect save causation. And we mean by this, that the Son is begotten of the Father and not the Father of the Son, and that the Father naturally is the cause of the Son: just as we say in the same way not that fire proceeds from light, but rather light from fire. So then, whenever we hear it said that the Father is the origin of the Son and greater than the Son, let us understand it to mean in respect of causation." - St. John of Damascus, Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 1, 8

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« Reply #176 on: January 04, 2011, 08:26:04 AM »

I thought God the Father was never depicted in hagiography:

We therefore depict whatever we have seen. We have seen Christ, therefore we depict Him. We have seen the Holy Spirit, "in the semblance of a dove", therefore we depict it as such. But God the Father we have never seen, therefore we never depict Him. I will stress that detail. We are practical, we are realists and deeply theological at the same time, and therefore what we haven't seen, we do not depict. We have seen Cherubim? We depict them. We have seen Seraphim? We depict them. We have seen Angels, Archangels? We depict them. We have not seen what Thrones, Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Dominions, Authorities and other celestial powers are like, therefore we do not depict them.

Question: Excuse me, but there is an icon that depicts God in a portrayal.....

Reply: We never accept the portrayal of God the Father.

Question: Then why … …. ….

Reply: They do it, because they are not familiar with the theology of icons. We never depict the Holy Trinity as Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and the Father as an old man with long hair. It is wrong. The Father never revealed Himself to us. "You shall not see My countenance and live", the Father had said. Nobody sees the Father. Christ Himself had appeared according to the capacity of human perception. And so did the Holy Spirit, by appearing "like a dove". But Christ -Who appeared and was incarnated as a human- is one thing, and the Holy Spirit -Who was not incarnated as a dove- is another thing. The Holy Spirit appeared "like" a dove, and not incarnated "as" a dove. That is the dogmatic approach for this icon. We move dogmatically on this point, and no-one can alter the theology of the Icon with his own particular perception of it.


Taken from a lesson on the icon of the Lord's nativity http://www.floga.gr/50/04/2005-6/02_2005111104uk.asp
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« Reply #177 on: January 04, 2011, 09:09:38 AM »

So we have popular icons that portray the Father even though it is forbidden to do so?
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« Reply #178 on: January 04, 2011, 09:15:33 AM »

So we have popular icons that portray the Father even though it is forbidden to do so?

Of course. When is anything in Orthodoxy cut and dry? Smiley
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« Reply #179 on: January 04, 2011, 09:16:05 AM »

So we have popular icons that portray the Father even though it is forbidden to do so?

Yes, this could be a conclusion. The speaker says people who depict God the Father have no familiarity with the theology of icons. He finally says no one has the right to change this theology in accordance with his/her subjective comments/perceptions.
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