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Author Topic: Canonical Icons?  (Read 46143 times) Average Rating: 0
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #405 on: May 12, 2009, 01:52:56 AM »

If you click the Ancient of Days tag below, you will see other threads where this has been discussed.
ChristusDominus, to facilitate your search for answers to your question, I merged the thread you started into this earlier thread on what makes icons canonical.  I hope you'll find plenty of wealth in this thread. Wink
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« Reply #406 on: May 12, 2009, 02:18:14 AM »



Saint Christopher Cynocephalus at the Byzantine Museum at Athens
I dearly hope no one has ever prayed to it.
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« Reply #407 on: May 12, 2009, 03:19:00 AM »



Saint Christopher Cynocephalus at the Byzantine Museum at Athens
I dearly hope no one has ever prayed to it.
Is Saint Christopher Cynocephalus a saint in the Eastern Orthodox church?
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« Reply #408 on: May 12, 2009, 03:22:44 AM »

I hope not, but I'll bet he was.
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« Reply #409 on: May 12, 2009, 03:27:03 AM »

I hope not, but I'll bet he was.

You are a real treat.  Welcome to the forum!
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« Reply #410 on: May 12, 2009, 03:28:00 AM »

Is Saint Christopher Cynocephalus a saint in the Eastern Orthodox church?
Yes, he is.

http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=101334

In fact, his feast day was just this last Saturday, May 9.  I believe he is Fr. Chris's patron saint, as well.

Yes, he is often depicted in icons as having a dog's head.  One legend has it that St. Christopher was such a handsome man that he petitioned God to make him profoundly ugly to remove a temptation to himself and to others, a request that God granted.
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« Reply #411 on: May 12, 2009, 03:32:21 AM »

I'm glad I never prayed to legends when I was Orthodox.
But wasn't St Christopher a legend also? Christopher the protector of travlers. The one in every taxi?
Or was it just the Pope who excomunicated him?
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« Reply #412 on: May 12, 2009, 03:50:46 AM »

I'm glad I never prayed to legends when I was Orthodox.
But wasn't St Christopher a legend also? Christopher the protector of travlers. The one in every taxi?
Or was it just the Pope who excomunicated him?

Saint Christopher  -  One Saint, Two Lives

The story of this saint's life is astoundingly different, depending upon
whether one consults Orthodox or Roman Catholic sources.

It was the "Golden Legend" (spread around W.Europe by the printing press)
which brought in all the fantastical stuff about Saint Christopher and this
mythology was what eventually lead to his 1969 banishment from the Roman
Martyrology.

In the East his Life did not acquire these fabulous accretions and his Life
is much more sensible and down to earth.



http://www.fact-index.com/s/sa/saint_christopher.html

....The Western version of St. Christopher was ultimately repudiated by the
Roman Catholic Church, as it was impossible to distinguish associated
accounts from any number of probably fictional folk tales. Non-fantastic
details of the Western Christopher's "life" were so scant as to be
essentially non-extant. [I think it is ironic that a lot of the blame for
Christopher's degration by Rome in 1969 can be laid fairly and squarely at
the feet of the Aurea Legenda - seeking to extend his fame and glory with
fabulous tales the Aurea Legenda laid the groundwork for his dismissal in
the late 20th century, in times which are not so enamoured of pious fables.]

This is not necessarily the case for St. Christopher as he is known in the
east. While surviving Eastern accounts of his life are replete with miracles
and events that do not mesh well with modern historiography, enough
information has been preserved to present a possible account of a St.
Christopher that would be amenable to modern historical sensibilities.

[The dog's head].....The first hurdle to consider is the idea that he was a
dog-headed cannibal. This can be understood in the light that the surviving
accounts of St. Christopher are contemporaneous. The practice of the time
was to describe all people outside the "civilized" (Graeco-Roman-Persian)
world as cannibals, dog-headed, or even more bizarre things, albeit often
metaphorically. A later generation could then mistake a metaphor or
hyperbole for a literal statement.

However, the man in question is also said to have been assigned to a
military unit made up of Marmaritae. The Marmaritae were the independent
tribes of Marmarica (now in modern Libya), who would have been pushed to the
frontier region after Roman settlement. Since he was from a frontier tribe,
describing him as being from the land of dog-headed people would have been a
literary convention of the day.

Fr Ambrose


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« Reply #413 on: May 12, 2009, 03:59:50 AM »

I'm glad I never prayed to legends when I was Orthodox.

Yeah, you really skirted the outlandish nonsense by flipping to good ol' rational Protestantism.  They've fortunately ringed every drop of supernaturalism and folk mythology from their midst!  Except for those myths which are in certain canonized books, like a god-man (Hercules?), a virgin birth (in a cave?), water turning into wine (Dionysus?), a tower to heaven (ziggurat?), a man living in a large fish's stomach, a talking donkey, a talking snake, spiritual beings flying around bothering people, demon possessed pigs, or a Greek philosophical tri-unity.  Hmmm...

It's easy for you to get all superior about legends and myths, but you simply forget that there are things in the Holy Scriptures are just as ludicrous as a man having his head turned into a dog's for humility's sake.  The only difference is that they are familiar absurdities.
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« Reply #414 on: May 12, 2009, 04:08:40 AM »

If the Bible say it. I believe it.
If some old dude that has to hide from sin in a cave says it. I don't believe it.
We are callede to be the light of the world, not hide and dream up muyths or legends
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« Reply #415 on: May 12, 2009, 04:16:41 AM »

If the Bible say it. I believe it.
If some old dude that has to hide from sin in a cave says it. I don't believe it.
We are callede to be the light of the world, not hide and dream up muyths or legends.

What if the Bible says that an old dude should hide from sin in a cave?



Quote from: 1 Kings 19:9 KJV
And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him.

Elias (Elijah) had some amazing experiences in the wilderness by God's providence, as did Christ Himself, as well as many others.

By the way, how do you determine what constitutes as Holy Scripture versus mythological nonsense or false heretical writings?
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« Reply #416 on: May 12, 2009, 04:26:13 AM »

(1 Ki 19:7 KJV)  And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.

8   And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

9  And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

10  And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

11  And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

12  And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

 14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.




He lodged there and GOD gave him a job to do. He didn't hide from the world.

The NIV says
(1 Ki 19:9 NIV)  There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?"




The NRSV says
(1 Ki 19:9 NRSV)  At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there. Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"


Better luck next time



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« Reply #417 on: May 12, 2009, 04:44:11 AM »

On St Christopher and the dog's head, from another thread on this forum:

Re "dog-headed": How St Christopher came about to be portrayed with a dog's head is an unfortunate misunderstanding on the part of the iconographer who first painted him: St Christopher came from a region in Thessaly (northern Greece) called Kynoskephalai. This place-name means "dog-headed". Weird place names like this are common in many countries, including Greece and Russia. So poor St Christopher was painted with a dog's head, where the iconographer mistakenly thought the name "dog-headed" referred to what the saint looked like, not where he came from. Sadly, this mistake continues to be perpetuated by iconographers, even today.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,18166.msg265290.html#msg265290
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« Reply #418 on: May 12, 2009, 04:48:15 AM »

That's what happens when we count on mens words/paintings, rather than GODS word.
Stick with the Bible and you can't go wrong.
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« Reply #419 on: May 12, 2009, 04:58:42 AM »

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.   Wink

Not at all, cholmes. The iconography of the Holy Trinity, God the Father as an old man, and the Holy Spirit as a dove are images which have indeed been discussed and dealt with by the Orthodox Church at frequent intervals since at least the seventh century. The answer has always been "no" for God the Father, and for the Holy Spirit as a dove, the answer is "only in icons of the Baptism of Christ (Theophany)", as it was in this form and at this event in time that the Holy Spirit was revealed in this form. Yet, time and time again, iconographic mistakes continued to be made, including in our present day.
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« Reply #420 on: May 12, 2009, 04:59:32 AM »

That's what happens when we count on mens words/paintings, rather than GODS word.
Stick with the Bible and you can't go wrong.

Pap, Orthodoxy does not subscribe to the protestant idea of sola scriptura.
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« Reply #421 on: May 12, 2009, 05:00:28 AM »

That's what happens when we count on mens words/paintings, rather than GODS word.
Stick with the Bible and you can't go wrong.

Pap, Orthodoxy does not subscribe to the protestant idea of sola scriptura.
How sad.
Why?
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« Reply #422 on: May 12, 2009, 05:04:01 AM »

(2 Tim 3:16 KJV)  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

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« Reply #423 on: May 12, 2009, 05:06:50 AM »

How sad.
Why?

Which came first, Pap? The Old Testament, or Moses? Which came first, Pap? The New Testament, or the Apostles commissioned by Christ before His Ascension to go out and preach the good news to all nations? What of the "late" entry of Apostle Paul into the apostolic fold, yet a good number of his letters are part of the New Testament? We await your answer.
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« Reply #424 on: May 12, 2009, 05:21:17 AM »

Is this a rhetorical question?
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« Reply #425 on: May 12, 2009, 06:12:31 AM »

No, Pap, it is not. Please provide answers to these questions, if you can.
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« Reply #426 on: May 12, 2009, 09:35:55 AM »

That's what happens when we count on mens words/paintings, rather than GODS word.
Stick with the Bible and you can't go wrong.

Oddly enough, it is precisely by sticking only to the Bible that you will go wrong.   What Christ the Lord left us for guidance and to maintain His teaching secure and intact was not the four Gospels and the Epistles but a living community, the Church.

Adopt the Bible alone and you'll end up with the nightmare of 30,000 Christian sects contradicting one another.  Take the Baptists who can prove to you from the Bible that children must not be baptized.  And then we have the Methodists who can prove to you from the Bible that children must be baptized.

Here is something about the errors of Sola Scripura from an ex-Nazarene pastor who came into Orthodoxy.

Sola Scriptura:
In the Vanity of Their Minds

An Orthodox examination
of the Protestant teaching

http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/sola_scriptura_john_whiteford.htm


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« Reply #427 on: May 12, 2009, 11:27:23 AM »

That's what happens when we count on mens words/paintings, rather than GODS word.
Stick with the Bible and you can't go wrong.

Oddly enough, it is precisely by sticking only to the Bible that you will go wrong.   What Christ the Lord left us for guidance and to maintain His teaching secure and intact was not the four Gospels and the Epistles but a living community, the Church.

Adopt the Bible alone and you'll end up with the nightmare of 30,000 Christian sects contradicting one another.  Take the Baptists who can prove to you from the Bible that children must not be baptized.  And then we have the Methodists who can prove to you from the Bible that children must be baptized.

Here is something about the errors of Sola Scripture from an ex-Nazarene pastor who came into Orthodoxy.

Sola Scriptura:
In the Vanity of Their Minds

An Orthodox examination
of the Protestant teaching

http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/sola_scriptura_john_whiteford.htm




I watched a TV show last night on the Catholic Channel. A convert from Protestantism
( he was previously a Presbyterian Seminarian) pointed out that the council of Nicaea in 325 took place before the cannon of scriptures  ( The Bible as we know it today) was compiled. While it is certainly true that the writings that would later become  the cannoncal Bible  were circulating at that time, there were literally hundreds of other scriptures, some very popular, also circulating.

The council of Nicaea began to establish the most fundamental theology of Christianity concerning the nature and divinity of Christ and the Holy Trinity, all without the Bible as Protestants understand it.
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« Reply #428 on: May 12, 2009, 11:28:40 AM »

That's what happens when we count on mens words/paintings, rather than GODS word.
Stick with the Bible and you can't go wrong.
I wonder why there are literally thousands upon thousands of protestant sects? Maybe because they only read the Bible?

2 Peter 1:20 (King James Version)20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

2 Peter 1:20 (New International Version)
20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation.

2 Peter 1:20 (New American Standard Bible)

 20But (A)know this first of all, that (B)no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation



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« Reply #429 on: May 12, 2009, 11:30:28 AM »

I watched a TV show last night on the Catholic Channel. A convert from Protestantism
( he was previously a Presbyterian Seminarian) pointed out that the council of Nicaea in 325 took place before the cannon of scriptures  ( The Bible as we know it today) was compiled. While it is certainly true that the writings that would later become  the cannoncal Bible  were circulating at that time, there were literally hundreds of other scriptures, some very popular, also circulating.

The council of Nicaea began to establish the most fundamental theology of Christianity concerning the nature and divinity of Christ and the Holy Trinity, all without the Bible as Protestants understand it.
I watched the same show Cheesy And yes, they did raise some very good thoughts concerning the Church BEFORE the Bible hit the scene.
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« Reply #430 on: May 12, 2009, 11:32:50 AM »

How sad.
Why?
I have said this before, you have no idea what you left. If you really don't know why Orthodoxy doesn't subscribe to Sola Scriptura, then you really didn't have a good grasp of your Orthodox Faith.
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« Reply #431 on: May 12, 2009, 11:54:26 AM »

(2 Tim 3:16 KJV)  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:



"All" Scripture  ... not "only" Scripture. angel
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« Reply #432 on: May 12, 2009, 11:56:21 AM »

(2 Tim 3:16 KJV)  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:



I smell a troll.


That's what happens when we count on mens words/paintings, rather than GODS word.
Stick with the Bible and you can't go wrong.

Pap, Orthodoxy does not subscribe to the protestant idea of sola scriptura.
How sad.
Why?

Because

IT"S NOT IN THE BIBLE.

That's what happens when we count on mens words/paintings, rather than GODS word.
Stick with the Bible and you can't go wrong.

LOL.  Thousands of sects of Protestants have.
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« Reply #433 on: May 12, 2009, 01:21:04 PM »

Pap,

I have become quite aware of your posting tactics since you joined our forum yesterday, tactics that can be considered trolling, so I deem it necessary to post this warning now that you have chosen to post in my area of direct responsibility.  As shown in the Forum Index, the Faith Issues board is for discussion of issues and inquiries related to the Orthodox Christian faith.  Do note, then, that I will not tolerate any attempt on the Faith board to denigrate our Orthodox faith as you seem to be trying to do with your last few posts.  If you continue on the Faith Board to insult our faith as you appear to have done, you will be placed on warned/post moderation status.  Consider this fair warning.

FYI, if you want to discuss in a respectful manner issues of importance to you as an Evangelical, we have two public boards where that is appropriate:  Orthodox-Protestant Discussion and Orthodox-Other Christian Discussion.  We also have a private board devoted to Orthodox-Other Christian Private Discussions if you enjoy some more polemic mudslinging; just send Fr. Chris a pm requesting access to the private forum if you want to post there.

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« Reply #434 on: June 22, 2011, 03:05:10 PM »

http://www.victoria.ac.nz/chaplains/chinese-christ/11.html#

This strikes me as much closer to a canonical icon of Christ in the Chinese style.

The story of this image others by this artist and his friends is very instructional. The artist and his companions were Chinese of the  early 1900s. They noised how western artist adapted and interpreted oriental themes within their own artistic idiom. So they wondered, why can't we do the same thing but in the direction…interpret western themes in the idiom of our traditional art. So they picked the religion of the west at that time, Christianity, and made it their subject. They studied western images and then composed their own in their own style…and we must remember our eastern is still their western.  The more they studied the life of Christ and His story as shown in images, and the more of them they painted the more they became convinced that Christ was who He said He was…and they all became Christians, at least one eventually becoming a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. Among the more famous and prolific of them was John Lu Hung-Nien, several of whose works can be found on line.

As to the question of images and race, I don't think it is as strictly black and white issue.  If someone deliberately changes someone's "race" in an "icon" for purely "artistic" reasons, then the image as an icon is highly questionable.

If through long tradition the icons a people makes tend to look like them, then it is natural and permissible.  Consider the Ethiopian black Theotokos and Christ, not to mention prophets and others, there was not a lot of contact between Ethiopia and Byzantium (or its heirs) for centuries. The average ethiopian growing up then would have only had other ethiopians to draw upon for their models of humanity…the same is true for northern europeans for that matter. So on one hand we have a black Christ and on the other a very fair skinned nordic Christ….and now we talk about Asian representations.  It's one and the same.  God became man. Until very recently historically most people had only themselves to inform them on what was or wasn't a proper image of a human being…so among whites Christ was depicted as white, among blacks He was depicted as black within their respective traditions…and in the middle east, He looked like them there too. Still for all that there are certain features that remain consistent in that image of Christ which make Him recognizable regardless of the image tradition in which He is shown.
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« Reply #435 on: June 25, 2011, 12:37:53 PM »

It seems to me, an Orthodox catechumen, that the issue of the canonicity of Samkim's image is not so much that it portrays the Theotokos and the Christ in imperial, East Asian cultural terms. It is that it leaves out the "stylistic" and symbolic aspects that canonicity requires.

For example, the three-dimensionality of the image seems suspect to me. (And in fact, that is a Western influence, as Asian graphic art is much more "flat.") And as LBK asks,

Where are the stars of perpetual virginity on the "Virgin's" robes? Why is her hair visible? Why does the "Christ-child" not have the distinctive halo of the nine-bar cross, and the letters O W N?

I think these could have been depicted in a uniquely "Asian" fashion.

Even the painting in the background -- or rather, the "spatial" relationship between the figures and the painting -- belies a Western influence.

So the problem seems twofold to me: First, the image lacks certain canonical requirements, as LBK points out. (I am speaking from ignorance here -- I know these requirements exist, though I do not know them specifically.) Second, the image uses Western illusionistic conventions, which are entirely uncanonical. The problem is *not*, it seems to me, that the motifs are East Asian. Indeed, perhaps these motifs even *ought* to be used in iconography, at least in an East Asian worship context.

Samkim, I thank you for showing us that image. I do not think it is an icon, but I can see how the symbolic content might be "iconized," and properly written as an icon. I think that transformation would be a worthy and holy artistic work for an iconographer.


EDIT: Sorry, I didn't realize this threat was 10 PAGES LONG. I only read the first page; please read my post accordingly.
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« Reply #436 on: June 25, 2011, 01:30:36 PM »


LOL!  10 pages long and a few years old.

 Wink

Welcome to the forum, Seraphim Rose!



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« Reply #437 on: June 25, 2011, 04:58:38 PM »

http://www.victoria.ac.nz/chaplains/chinese-christ/11.html#

This strikes me as much closer to a canonical icon of Christ in the Chinese style.

The story of this image others by this artist and his friends is very instructional. The artist and his companions were Chinese of the  early 1900s. They noised how western artist adapted and interpreted oriental themes within their own artistic idiom. So they wondered, why can't we do the same thing but in the direction…interpret western themes in the idiom of our traditional art. So they picked the religion of the west at that time, Christianity, and made it their subject. They studied western images and then composed their own in their own style…and we must remember our eastern is still their western.  The more they studied the life of Christ and His story as shown in images, and the more of them they painted the more they became convinced that Christ was who He said He was…and they all became Christians, at least one eventually becoming a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. Among the more famous and prolific of them was John Lu Hung-Nien, several of whose works can be found on line.

As to the question of images and race, I don't think it is as strictly black and white issue.  If someone deliberately changes someone's "race" in an "icon" for purely "artistic" reasons, then the image as an icon is highly questionable.

If through long tradition the icons a people makes tend to look like them, then it is natural and permissible.  Consider the Ethiopian black Theotokos and Christ, not to mention prophets and others, there was not a lot of contact between Ethiopia and Byzantium (or its heirs) for centuries. The average ethiopian growing up then would have only had other ethiopians to draw upon for their models of humanity…the same is true for northern europeans for that matter. So on one hand we have a black Christ and on the other a very fair skinned nordic Christ….and now we talk about Asian representations.  It's one and the same.  God became man. Until very recently historically most people had only themselves to inform them on what was or wasn't a proper image of a human being…so among whites Christ was depicted as white, among blacks He was depicted as black within their respective traditions…and in the middle east, He looked like them there too. Still for all that there are certain features that remain consistent in that image of Christ which make Him recognizable regardless of the image tradition in which He is shown.
Generally then, would Orthodox accept icons of Christ in the Chinese style, such as this?
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« Reply #438 on: June 25, 2011, 06:27:44 PM »

http://www.victoria.ac.nz/chaplains/chinese-christ/11.html#

This strikes me as much closer to a canonical icon of Christ in the Chinese style.

The story of this image others by this artist and his friends is very instructional. The artist and his companions were Chinese of the  early 1900s. They noised how western artist adapted and interpreted oriental themes within their own artistic idiom. So they wondered, why can't we do the same thing but in the direction…interpret western themes in the idiom of our traditional art. So they picked the religion of the west at that time, Christianity, and made it their subject. They studied western images and then composed their own in their own style…and we must remember our eastern is still their western.  The more they studied the life of Christ and His story as shown in images, and the more of them they painted the more they became convinced that Christ was who He said He was…and they all became Christians, at least one eventually becoming a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. Among the more famous and prolific of them was John Lu Hung-Nien, several of whose works can be found on line.

As to the question of images and race, I don't think it is as strictly black and white issue.  If someone deliberately changes someone's "race" in an "icon" for purely "artistic" reasons, then the image as an icon is highly questionable.

If through long tradition the icons a people makes tend to look like them, then it is natural and permissible.  Consider the Ethiopian black Theotokos and Christ, not to mention prophets and others, there was not a lot of contact between Ethiopia and Byzantium (or its heirs) for centuries. The average ethiopian growing up then would have only had other ethiopians to draw upon for their models of humanity…the same is true for northern europeans for that matter. So on one hand we have a black Christ and on the other a very fair skinned nordic Christ….and now we talk about Asian representations.  It's one and the same.  God became man. Until very recently historically most people had only themselves to inform them on what was or wasn't a proper image of a human being…so among whites Christ was depicted as white, among blacks He was depicted as black within their respective traditions…and in the middle east, He looked like them there too. Still for all that there are certain features that remain consistent in that image of Christ which make Him recognizable regardless of the image tradition in which He is shown.
Generally then, would Orthodox accept icons of Christ in the Chinese style, such as this?

I think, from what I've learned and heard, you can depict Christ as any nationality and any color. It obviously still needs to be traditional in style, but it's okay to depict him as a different race, color, etc...

There is a website out there that has Orthodox chant from around the world, it's often accompanied with icons, and I think some of them show Christ as different ethnicities.
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« Reply #439 on: June 25, 2011, 06:44:34 PM »

Quote
There is a website out there that has Orthodox chant from around the world, it's often accompanied with icons, and I think some of them show Christ as different ethnicities.

Just because certain imagery has been painted does not mean it's a proper icon.
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« Reply #440 on: June 25, 2011, 08:35:06 PM »

http://www.victoria.ac.nz/chaplains/chinese-christ/11.html#

This strikes me as much closer to a canonical icon of Christ in the Chinese style.

The story of this image others by this artist and his friends is very instructional. The artist and his companions were Chinese of the  early 1900s. They noised how western artist adapted and interpreted oriental themes within their own artistic idiom. So they wondered, why can't we do the same thing but in the direction…interpret western themes in the idiom of our traditional art. So they picked the religion of the west at that time, Christianity, and made it their subject. They studied western images and then composed their own in their own style…and we must remember our eastern is still their western.  The more they studied the life of Christ and His story as shown in images, and the more of them they painted the more they became convinced that Christ was who He said He was…and they all became Christians, at least one eventually becoming a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. Among the more famous and prolific of them was John Lu Hung-Nien, several of whose works can be found on line.

As to the question of images and race, I don't think it is as strictly black and white issue.  If someone deliberately changes someone's "race" in an "icon" for purely "artistic" reasons, then the image as an icon is highly questionable.

If through long tradition the icons a people makes tend to look like them, then it is natural and permissible.  Consider the Ethiopian black Theotokos and Christ, not to mention prophets and others, there was not a lot of contact between Ethiopia and Byzantium (or its heirs) for centuries. The average ethiopian growing up then would have only had other ethiopians to draw upon for their models of humanity…the same is true for northern europeans for that matter. So on one hand we have a black Christ and on the other a very fair skinned nordic Christ….and now we talk about Asian representations.  It's one and the same.  God became man. Until very recently historically most people had only themselves to inform them on what was or wasn't a proper image of a human being…so among whites Christ was depicted as white, among blacks He was depicted as black within their respective traditions…and in the middle east, He looked like them there too. Still for all that there are certain features that remain consistent in that image of Christ which make Him recognizable regardless of the image tradition in which He is shown.
Generally then, would Orthodox accept icons of Christ in the Chinese style, such as this?

I think, from what I've learned and heard, you can depict Christ as any nationality and any color. It obviously still needs to be traditional in style, but it's okay to depict him as a different race, color, etc...

There is a website out there that has Orthodox chant from around the world, it's often accompanied with icons, and I think some of them show Christ as different ethnicities.
But with the icon mentioned above, it is not simply a matter of race. The whole background and flavor is Chinese.
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« Reply #441 on: June 25, 2011, 10:01:48 PM »

On another site, there was an interesting thread about non-canonical icons. Some of them had outright bizarre designs. I wondered how the makers thought people would be able to use them for prayer.
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« Reply #442 on: June 26, 2011, 09:44:31 PM »

That's what happens when we count on mens words/paintings, rather than GODS word.
Stick with the Bible and you can't go wrong.

*Yawn*

'Cos God's word is self-writing, self-collating, self-interpreting and self-proclaiming, right?

I know I just took the bait fruitlessly, but honestly ...
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« Reply #443 on: June 26, 2011, 10:09:02 PM »

That's what happens when we count on mens words/paintings, rather than GODS word.
Stick with the Bible and you can't go wrong.

*Yawn*

'Cos God's word is self-writing, self-collating, self-interpreting and self-proclaiming, right?

I know I just took the bait fruitlessly, but honestly ...
I don't think Pap's coming back.
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« Reply #444 on: June 26, 2011, 10:11:25 PM »

That's what happens when we count on mens words/paintings, rather than GODS word.
Stick with the Bible and you can't go wrong.

*Yawn*

'Cos God's word is self-writing, self-collating, self-interpreting and self-proclaiming, right?

I know I just took the bait fruitlessly, but honestly ...
I don't think Pap's coming back.

Oops, just saw the dates.

Enjoying the discussion re canonicity of icons, in any event.
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« Reply #445 on: June 15, 2012, 04:02:56 AM »

http://www.victoria.ac.nz/chaplains/chinese-christ/11.html#

This strikes me as much closer to a canonical icon of Christ in the Chinese style.

The story of this image others by this artist and his friends is very instructional. The artist and his companions were Chinese of the  early 1900s. They noised how western artist adapted and interpreted oriental themes within their own artistic idiom. So they wondered, why can't we do the same thing but in the direction…interpret western themes in the idiom of our traditional art. So they picked the religion of the west at that time, Christianity, and made it their subject. They studied western images and then composed their own in their own style…and we must remember our eastern is still their western.  The more they studied the life of Christ and His story as shown in images, and the more of them they painted the more they became convinced that Christ was who He said He was…and they all became Christians, at least one eventually becoming a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. Among the more famous and prolific of them was John Lu Hung-Nien, several of whose works can be found on line.

As to the question of images and race, I don't think it is as strictly black and white issue.  If someone deliberately changes someone's "race" in an "icon" for purely "artistic" reasons, then the image as an icon is highly questionable.

If through long tradition the icons a people makes tend to look like them, then it is natural and permissible.  Consider the Ethiopian black Theotokos and Christ, not to mention prophets and others, there was not a lot of contact between Ethiopia and Byzantium (or its heirs) for centuries. The average ethiopian growing up then would have only had other ethiopians to draw upon for their models of humanity…the same is true for northern europeans for that matter. So on one hand we have a black Christ and on the other a very fair skinned nordic Christ….and now we talk about Asian representations.  It's one and the same.  God became man. Until very recently historically most people had only themselves to inform them on what was or wasn't a proper image of a human being…so among whites Christ was depicted as white, among blacks He was depicted as black within their respective traditions…and in the middle east, He looked like them there too. Still for all that there are certain features that remain consistent in that image of Christ which make Him recognizable regardless of the image tradition in which He is shown.
Generally then, would Orthodox accept icons of Christ in the Chinese style, such as this?

I think, from what I've learned and heard, you can depict Christ as any nationality and any color. It obviously still needs to be traditional in style, but it's okay to depict him as a different race, color, etc...

There is a website out there that has Orthodox chant from around the world, it's often accompanied with icons, and I think some of them show Christ as different ethnicities.
But with the icon mentioned above, it is not simply a matter of race. The whole background and flavor is Chinese.
Here is a further example of Chinese depiction of Mary and Jesus.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvaltRzYMTI
 I don't see why Orthodox would reject Chinese style iconography.
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« Reply #446 on: June 15, 2012, 07:02:12 AM »


It's not the "style" that's being rejected, it's the fact that the painter is changing her ethnicity.

Neither the Mother of God, nor Christ, were Chinese.

I would be offended if someone, knowing what I look like, made a painting of me and then changed me into a different ethnicity, gave me blue eyes knowing mine are brown, red hair instead of brown, etc. 

While each individual ethnicity is beautiful, and each "type" of human is wonderful, if you "know" what the person looks like, don't paint them looking like something they are not.

It's almost as if you are not pleased with how they look originally and are trying to make them better.

Can't the Theotokos be accepted for whom she really was? 

Is ethnicity such a stumbling block, that unless someone looks like "me", I can't possibly venerate or worship them?

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« Reply #447 on: June 15, 2012, 07:07:27 AM »


It's not the "style" that's being rejected, it's the fact that the painter is changing her ethnicity.

Neither the Mother of God, nor Christ, were Chinese.

I would be offended if someone, knowing what I look like, made a painting of me and then changed me into a different ethnicity, gave me blue eyes knowing mine are brown, red hair instead of brown, etc. 

While each individual ethnicity is beautiful, and each "type" of human is wonderful, if you "know" what the person looks like, don't paint them looking like something they are not.

It's almost as if you are not pleased with how they look originally and are trying to make them better.

Can't the Theotokos be accepted for whom she really was? 

Is ethnicity such a stumbling block, that unless someone looks like "me", I can't possibly venerate or worship them?



Indeed. What next - rewrite the Bible to change the ethnic origins of the saints and holy ones to make their origins more palatable to particular ethnic or cultural groups?  Good grief! Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
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« Reply #448 on: June 15, 2012, 09:13:19 AM »

http://www.victoria.ac.nz/chaplains/chinese-christ/11.html#

This strikes me as much closer to a canonical icon of Christ in the Chinese style.

The story of this image others by this artist and his friends is very instructional. The artist and his companions were Chinese of the  early 1900s. They noised how western artist adapted and interpreted oriental themes within their own artistic idiom. So they wondered, why can't we do the same thing but in the direction…interpret western themes in the idiom of our traditional art. So they picked the religion of the west at that time, Christianity, and made it their subject. They studied western images and then composed their own in their own style…and we must remember our eastern is still their western.  The more they studied the life of Christ and His story as shown in images, and the more of them they painted the more they became convinced that Christ was who He said He was…and they all became Christians, at least one eventually becoming a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. Among the more famous and prolific of them was John Lu Hung-Nien, several of whose works can be found on line.

As to the question of images and race, I don't think it is as strictly black and white issue.  If someone deliberately changes someone's "race" in an "icon" for purely "artistic" reasons, then the image as an icon is highly questionable.

If through long tradition the icons a people makes tend to look like them, then it is natural and permissible.  Consider the Ethiopian black Theotokos and Christ, not to mention prophets and others, there was not a lot of contact between Ethiopia and Byzantium (or its heirs) for centuries. The average ethiopian growing up then would have only had other ethiopians to draw upon for their models of humanity…the same is true for northern europeans for that matter. So on one hand we have a black Christ and on the other a very fair skinned nordic Christ….and now we talk about Asian representations.  It's one and the same.  God became man. Until very recently historically most people had only themselves to inform them on what was or wasn't a proper image of a human being…so among whites Christ was depicted as white, among blacks He was depicted as black within their respective traditions…and in the middle east, He looked like them there too. Still for all that there are certain features that remain consistent in that image of Christ which make Him recognizable regardless of the image tradition in which He is shown.
Generally then, would Orthodox accept icons of Christ in the Chinese style, such as this?

I think, from what I've learned and heard, you can depict Christ as any nationality and any color. It obviously still needs to be traditional in style, but it's okay to depict him as a different race, color, etc...

There is a website out there that has Orthodox chant from around the world, it's often accompanied with icons, and I think some of them show Christ as different ethnicities.
But with the icon mentioned above, it is not simply a matter of race. The whole background and flavor is Chinese.
Here is a further example of Chinese depiction of Mary and Jesus.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvaltRzYMTI
 I don't see why Orthodox would reject Chinese style iconography.

To riff on what Liza has already said, Christ and the Theotokos lived and walked on this earth as 1st century Jews.  Their physical characteristics should remain as such.

It's one thing to have them depicted wearing traditional Chinese (or other ethnic) garments which reflect their status (cf, the icon of Christ as High Priest in Byzantine vestments), but another to change how they physically appear. 
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« Reply #449 on: June 15, 2012, 11:52:57 AM »

http://www.victoria.ac.nz/chaplains/chinese-christ/11.html#

This strikes me as much closer to a canonical icon of Christ in the Chinese style.

The story of this image others by this artist and his friends is very instructional. The artist and his companions were Chinese of the  early 1900s. They noised how western artist adapted and interpreted oriental themes within their own artistic idiom. So they wondered, why can't we do the same thing but in the direction…interpret western themes in the idiom of our traditional art. So they picked the religion of the west at that time, Christianity, and made it their subject. They studied western images and then composed their own in their own style…and we must remember our eastern is still their western.  The more they studied the life of Christ and His story as shown in images, and the more of them they painted the more they became convinced that Christ was who He said He was…and they all became Christians, at least one eventually becoming a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. Among the more famous and prolific of them was John Lu Hung-Nien, several of whose works can be found on line.

As to the question of images and race, I don't think it is as strictly black and white issue.  If someone deliberately changes someone's "race" in an "icon" for purely "artistic" reasons, then the image as an icon is highly questionable.

If through long tradition the icons a people makes tend to look like them, then it is natural and permissible.  Consider the Ethiopian black Theotokos and Christ, not to mention prophets and others, there was not a lot of contact between Ethiopia and Byzantium (or its heirs) for centuries. The average ethiopian growing up then would have only had other ethiopians to draw upon for their models of humanity…the same is true for northern europeans for that matter. So on one hand we have a black Christ and on the other a very fair skinned nordic Christ….and now we talk about Asian representations.  It's one and the same.  God became man. Until very recently historically most people had only themselves to inform them on what was or wasn't a proper image of a human being…so among whites Christ was depicted as white, among blacks He was depicted as black within their respective traditions…and in the middle east, He looked like them there too. Still for all that there are certain features that remain consistent in that image of Christ which make Him recognizable regardless of the image tradition in which He is shown.
Generally then, would Orthodox accept icons of Christ in the Chinese style, such as this?

I think, from what I've learned and heard, you can depict Christ as any nationality and any color. It obviously still needs to be traditional in style, but it's okay to depict him as a different race, color, etc...

There is a website out there that has Orthodox chant from around the world, it's often accompanied with icons, and I think some of them show Christ as different ethnicities.
But with the icon mentioned above, it is not simply a matter of race. The whole background and flavor is Chinese.
Here is a further example of Chinese depiction of Mary and Jesus.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvaltRzYMTI
 I don't see why Orthodox would reject Chinese style iconography.

To riff on what Liza has already said, Christ and the Theotokos lived and walked on this earth as 1st century Jews.  Their physical characteristics should remain as such.

It's one thing to have them depicted wearing traditional Chinese (or other ethnic) garments which reflect their status (cf, the icon of Christ as High Priest in Byzantine vestments), but another to change how they physically appear. 
You don't know exactly what Mary looked like or how she dressed or how well the Greek style icons capture her features. Anyway, suppose a Chinese lady were to pray to the Mother of God in front of a Chinese style icon. How would that differ from a situation where a Chinese lady were to pray in front of a Greek style icon? I don't think that you would accept a Chinese style painting as an icon if it depicted Mary as a Jew, so it is the style which is pertinent. Why do you demand only icons in a typical Greek or Byzantine style? This seems to be somewhat chauvinistic for a catholic Church to demand such, since Christ came for all, not just for the Byzantines?
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