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Author Topic: God the Father in Iconography  (Read 31682 times) Average Rating: 0
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scamandrius
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« on: November 07, 2006, 07:57:07 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.  Am I wrong?  Is it someone else (honestly, who else could it be?)? I was always taught that since only Christ assumed flesh, he can be portrayed on icons, but never God the Father.  I know the Roman Catholics portray God the Father (e.g.sistine chapel, Church of the Annunciation in Florence), but how can this possibly square with Orthodox theology?  Is this not innovation?

Thanks.

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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2006, 08:05:33 PM »

Icons of God the Father are all over the place.  I don't particularly like them but they're there. Explanations of what the icon actually is vary--from "oh this is actually the Ancient of Days" to "just deal with it."  This book may answer your questions but I have not read it myself:

http://www.amazon.com/Image-Father-Orthodox-Theology-Iconography/dp/1879038153/sr=8-1/qid=1162944028/ref=sr_1_1/104-3214348-1361536?ie=UTF8&s=books
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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2006, 08:15:34 PM »

Icons of God the Father are all over the place.  I don't particularly like them but they're there. Explanations of what the icon actually is vary--from "oh this is actually the Ancient of Days" to "just deal with it."  This book may answer your questions but I have not read it myself:

http://www.amazon.com/Image-Father-Orthodox-Theology-Iconography/dp/1879038153/sr=8-1/qid=1162944028/ref=sr_1_1/104-3214348-1361536?ie=UTF8&s=books

So, what is the "Ancient of Days" supposed to be?  I never understood that.
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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2006, 08:16:59 PM »

Scamnandrius,
That sort of icons are very common in Romania as well.
I our church there is an icon at the top of the iconostas depicting God the Father as an old bearded man, the Son, holding the Cross in His left hand and, between the two, the Holy Ghost, in the form a dove.
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2006, 08:37:01 PM »

This seems like a much more contentious issue than the issue of a "Coptic flashing Icon" which is not even an Icon, to me.

Does anyone have any idea when and where we get the first mention of a "God the Father Icon"?

Edited to remove unecessary comments.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2006, 08:50:41 PM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2006, 08:40:14 PM »

So, what is the "Ancient of Days" supposed to be?  I never understood that.
"9 As I looked, thrones were placed and one that was Ancient of Days took his seat; his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, its wheels were burning fire. 10 A stream of fire issued and came forth from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. 11 I looked then because of the sound of the great words which the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. 13 I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed."  (Daniel 7:9-14)
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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2006, 08:51:53 PM »

From Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow...
http://www.xxc.ru/english/foto/inside/s01/f003.htm
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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2006, 10:48:27 PM »

There was a thread about this here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,9406.0.html
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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2006, 10:19:00 AM »

We have one painted on the wall of our GOC church in America. I don't see what the big deal is. OZGeorge makes some very good points in the other thread.
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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2006, 11:45:50 AM »

Trying to decide whether to become Orthodox, I was reading George Gabriel's "Mary: the Untrodden Portal of God" to learn about Mary.  In this book, the author included a lengthy argument against these icons of the Father.

Is this a major debate in Orthodoxy?  Is this issue something a potential convert needs to be concerned about?
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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2006, 12:41:40 PM »

My VERY basic understanding of all of this is that we need to understand the Incarnation as the central piece to Iconography. 

At the 7th Ecumenical Council (Nicea II) the main backing for Icons WAS the Incarnation.  If Christ came in the flesh and Incarnated, then we can depict Him in Icons. 

We know Christ because God the Father is in Him and He is in God the Father.  Yet, God the Father did not hypstasize in the flesh, he sends his energies through the Spirit.  (I may have botched up the words here and order...i'm not reading it from a textbook, just from what I remember...I apologize if I said something wrong). 

According to my OT professor the Ancient of Days cannot be contained by one single representation.  In all reality the ancient of days could represent himself as ANYTHING, and the example that was given was that he could even be a toothpick. 

Our humanistic and "enlightenement" ideals have transformed this into the representation of the ancient of days as an old man, typifying a father figure.  Yet we only know the father through the son, so how can we represent the father other than Christ Himself? 

Just some thoughts...
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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2006, 01:32:01 PM »

Is this a major debate in Orthodoxy?  Is this issue something a potential convert needs to be concerned about?

Absolutely not! Too much has been made of this already.
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« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2006, 01:41:09 PM »

We have one painted on the wall of our GOC church in America. I don't see what the big deal is. OZGeorge makes some very good points in the other thread.

Whether or not the Church has clearly ruled on this question is a moot point.  The fact is, the Church does not make pronouncements on issues until it finds it necessary to do so.  God the Father did not take on human flesh.  So clearly, making explicit icons of God the Father is wrong.  I don't consider it such a big deal.  But then again, I would be pretty upset if my parish priest commisioned an icon of God the Father for the parish church.
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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2006, 05:02:39 PM »

Absolutely not! Too much has been made of this already.

Thanks!
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2006, 05:45:13 PM »

Scamnandrius,
That sort of icons are very common in Romania as well.
I our church there is an icon at the top of the iconostas depicting God the Father as an old bearded man, the Son, holding the Cross in His left hand and, between the two, the Holy Ghost, in the form a dove.

This is probably the most typical Western image of the Trinity.
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« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2006, 12:39:39 AM »

Ancient of Day icons show Christ as alpha and omega - at the same time a man on earth of about the age of his earthly ministry and at the same time the ever existing one - the ancient of days. Both images in the icon are of Christ, not God the Father and the Son.

Icons are not like Western art and thus the same person (Christ) can appear in the same icon represented symbolically two differnt ways (not that his manhood is symbolic; for the second person of the Trinity, his humanity, his being a man is real and actual, not merely symbolic; what IS symbolic is the depicting of the same person two different ways).

This is sort of like the Christ-child held by Mary looks like a small young man (not that he literally looked like a little man as a child) - to remind us that he grew into manhood and carried on his earthly ministry (rather than a cute little baby in manger - although for sentimental reasons I still set up the Christmas creche that was in my parents' house growing up)

I think Fr.Gabriel goes a little far in that he even opposes the three holy visitors icon being stripped of its historical trappings to become an icon of the Trinity (like Rublev's), so you just have the three figures rather than some of the other details of the account from Genesis. I personally think it is pretty apparent that the 3 figures are symbolic, not literal and are not depicting the Father and Holy Spirit as men.

On the other hand I believe (correct me if I am wrong) that is is permissible to depict the Holy Spirit as a dove because we understand that He is NOT a dove, just symbolically depicted that way because of the account of Jesus' baptism. Thus in like fashion, I would say that we understand that the Father and Holy Spirit are NOT men and so the Three Holy Visitors icon is an acceptable symbolic depiction of the Trinity (since the account has been historically interpreted as a fore-shadowing of the revelation of the Trinity in the New Testament).
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« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2006, 01:35:01 AM »

From Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow...
http://www.xxc.ru/english/foto/inside/s01/f003.htm

There is no contradiction with the Moscow's Christ the Savior Church Icon of God the Father to the Incarnation of The Son as the Pantocrator. Everything to the Alpha to the Omega and the Virgin Mary are right there included in that icon regardless if it's not depicting the expansion of the Womb to the Christ Child acting upon his own Judgement even though as Christ Child he wouldn't have had a clue what he was to do at a young age. Yet he would have regarded to be in his right mind to be equate himself to the Father and yet the early Christian presuppose the Jewish structure on how to limit the worship on the priorites of the Holy Trinity to the Christ regardless of the imagination running wild.

On the other hand anyone can participate in idolatry of an icon if someone ignores the iconographer spiritual life who wrote it.
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« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2006, 09:08:51 AM »

The icon in the link that CR gave is certainly a VERY western influenced icon!

Would that have been from the Peter the Great era?

I definitely prefer the traditonal iconographic style.

In Western PA, some of the iconostases in Russian Orthodox churches in the old mill towns look like pictures in the Protestant Sunday school books I grew up with. They are turn-of-the (last) century or early 1900's churches.

I've grwon to appreciate them, but I am glad that there has been a return to the tradional style.
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« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2006, 09:39:17 AM »

Ancient of Day icons show Christ as alpha and omega - at the same time a man on earth of about the age of his earthly ministry and at the same time the ever existing one - the ancient of days. Both images in the icon are of Christ, not God the Father and the Son.
That would be an heretical Icon.
Icons depict hypostasis, and Christ is One Hypostasis.
The only time an Icon can depict more than one hypostasis of the same person is the rare occassion when it depicts the person undertaking different actions through time, for example, in some Icons of the Transfiguration, Christ and the disciples are depicted ascending Mount Tabor, then the Transfiguration followed by the descent from Mount Tabor (see below)

Clearly, this is meant to be understood as a series of events in the life of the One Hypostasis of Christ, and the one hypostasis of each of His disciples. But if the Ancient of Days is the Second Hypostasis of the Trinity, and Christ is the Second Hypostasis of the Trinity, to depict Them sitting next to each other and sharing a Throne means that the Icon is depicting Christ as having two Hypostases. Therefore, I put it to you that The Ancient of Days in the Icon is not Christ, but The Father.

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« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2006, 10:04:56 AM »

Interesting that OzGeorge and I have been going over this very thing via PMs just before this thread came up (we were discussing it in the old thread before the forum went down).  Personally, he's made a great case for the legitimacy of the icon.  I'm still not comfortable with it--as in, I'm not going to go out and buy any for myself--because it takes the dove, the Incarnate Christ, and the Ancient of Days Father and puts them all together in one icon.  Nice, and if you put two and two together you can come up with that, but the Holy Trinity has never revealed itself specifically and wholly in this manner to the Church.  The Ancient of Days appeared in Daniel's vision, so we can depict Daniel's vision.  The dove appeared in the Theophany icon (actually, George, didn't you say the Greek said the Holy Spirit descended "as a dove would descend" instead of "in the FORM of a dove"?).  Regardless, it seems that these manifestations of the other members of the Trinity are to be left in icons of those actual manifestations.
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« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2006, 10:30:36 AM »

Personally, he's made a great case for the legitimacy of the icon.
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« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2006, 11:27:29 AM »

On the other hand anyone can participate in idolatry of an icon if someone ignores the iconographer spiritual life who wrote it.

Um...would you care to explain this?  So if the iconographer has a bad spiritual life (which we judge, and not God) and if he/she writes and icon underneath that "bad" spiritual life (which again we judge, and not God) then we are idolaters for venerating it? 

What about the Incarnation?  What about the 7th Ecumenical Council"  What about the validity of the presence of the Holy Spirit even though we are imperfect (ie. in the case of priests)?? 

This doesn't resonate well with me. 
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« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2006, 02:17:41 PM »

Most  prototypes of this Trinity icon evolve from the Western Church and can almost point for point be seen in Roman Catholic Holy Cards  that were printed in the 17th and 18th Century. The greatest impact for this can be seen in Russia with an occassional  icon found in Greece and the Middle East (many more in the US where itinerrant iconographers offered it as an icon of the Holy Trinity, oddly enough often using Roman Catholic  labeling at times even in Latin, indicating their true prototype source.

This Icon of the Holy Trinity (Not the Rublev one) but having the figure of an Elderly  personage (Father) a Young One (Jesus-son) and holy spirit as a dove is indeed a western Religious painting that got the icon Treatment  where ever the Roman catholic Holy Trinity prayer cards got shipped when it was difficult for budding Orthodox Artists to get the  Icon Painting Manuals or access to Orthodox prototype icons.

This style of icon was definitely condemned by a Russia Synod Council (100 Chapters) that established St Anton Rublev as the model for Russian Iconography.  This icon is still very popular with the Russian Old Believers and was also frequently found in the Royal Church buildings and given as gifts to new Russian Orthodox Churches in the mission regions by the Romanoff Royal family due to the influence of the French upon the Russian Royal Family, arts etc.

A true icon of the Ancient of days, by the way, never has the Son or the Holy Spirit in the icon.

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« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2006, 06:13:13 PM »

The Kursk Root Icon depicts the Ancient of Days above the head of the Theotokos with a Dove Proceeding from Him.
This Icon dates to the 13th century.

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« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2006, 03:20:38 PM »

OzGeorge,

The Kursk Root icon is a multiple prototype images icon rather than a sole prototypical icon.  The icons it incorporates are:1) the primary central or focal icon of the Icon of the Sign 2) surmounted by the Ancient of days 3) then surrounded left right and botton by other individual icons of Saints.  This is typical of many Russian Icons of this period. It does show the Latin or Western influence in the one depicted very well.

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« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2006, 05:52:45 PM »

Thomas,
My point was that the image of the Ancient of Days on the Kursk Root Icon dates to the 13th century. This makes the "17th/18th century Western influence" theory a bit problematic.
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« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2006, 06:01:25 PM »

We have an icon of the Trinity on our iconostasis. I guess I realized something was up when I saw a triangle surrounding God the Father's head like Ive seen in many Western churches.
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« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2006, 07:15:41 PM »

The Kursk Root Icon depicts the Ancient of Days above the head of the Theotokos with a Dove Proceeding from Him.
This Icon dates to the 13th century.
I guess one of us mere mortals here on OC.net should inform the Theotokos that one of her wonder-working icons contains an Image of God the Father which is not allowed in Orthodox iconography (and which possibly was banned/condemned by several church councils).  Possibly, we could convince her to only use "correct" icons, painted written in the proper iconographic style, uninfluenced by the heretical west, by pious and sinless iconographers.
I'll pass on this task!

OzGeorge,
I've always had a special "devotion" to the Kursk Root Icon of Our Lady of the Sign, since I was born on the day dedicated to its commemoration.
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« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2006, 07:39:31 PM »

I'll pass on this task!
I call dibs on it not being me either!
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« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2006, 08:22:03 PM »

I call dibs on it not being me either!

You guys shouldn't have to be burdened with it... I'm sure there are others more worthy of the task who would be willing to step up!

Honestly, we have 2 icons of the Trinity including the Ancient of Days up here in the Dorm (outside our chapel on the 3rd floor)... They make us uncomfortable, but it's not like we're gonna tear them up or burn them (i.e. they're still icons, even if the style isn't encouraged anymore).
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« Reply #30 on: November 10, 2006, 09:13:48 PM »

You guys shouldn't have to be burdened with it... I'm sure there are others more worthy of the task who would be willing to step up!

I nominate Darth GiC...
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« Reply #31 on: November 10, 2006, 09:14:53 PM »

I nominate Darth GiC...

Methinks he wouldn't... Unless the Theotokos went digital.
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« Reply #32 on: November 10, 2006, 09:17:43 PM »

In Western PA, some of the iconostases in Russian Orthodox churches in the old mill towns look like pictures in the Protestant Sunday school books I grew up with. They are turn-of-the (last) century or early 1900's churches.

Brother Aidan,
I understand your concern and I support it, but often these churches were poor all the time or at least at the time of their foundation. They proceeded with those icons that they could get. Now, of course, a brand new parish or a parish which goes through a renovation process, should find some ways to enhance their interiors with more attention on iconostasis. Even when the money is a big issue, at least for a temporary decision, some icons can be copied, printed from Internet and enlarged, etc.
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« Reply #33 on: November 11, 2006, 01:11:02 AM »

I find it rather telling that St. John's depiction of Christ in the Book of Revelations replicates that given by St. Daniel the Prophet of the Ancient of Days (i.e. white hair, fiery eyes etc.).

I'm not sure that a proper interpretation of the nature and implications of St. Daniel's "vision" would allow us to draw any Christological conclusions regarding the Personhood of Christ were we to conclude Christ to be the Ancient of Days. Since I have never seen an OO Icon depiciting the Ancient of Days (whether as The Father or The Son), however, I guess I have less to consider in my exegesis of the relevant passage.
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« Reply #34 on: November 11, 2006, 08:42:17 AM »

I find it rather telling that St. John's depiction of Christ in the Book of Revelations replicates that given by St. Daniel the Prophet of the Ancient of Days (i.e. white hair, fiery eyes etc.).
Except that in Daniel's account, the Son of Man is brought before the Ancient of Days and receives "dominion, glory and a kingdom". It is quite possible that the Ancient of Days is the Father in Daniel and Christ in the Apocalypse.
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« Reply #35 on: November 11, 2006, 01:05:12 PM »

Referring back to page 2, "that would be a heretical icon"

Ozgeorge you will have to take that up with Fr. Gabriel. I refer you to pp 129-142 of Mary the Untrodden Portal of God.

I was reflecting, as best as I understand it, his explanation of some of these icons and how they do not depict God the Father, but rather the Son and are in keeping with Orthodox iconogrpahic traditon. Particularly see pp 136-137 where he explains how Christ can be portrayed as young and old in the same icon because of the mystery of the incarnation (he quotes St. Maximos the Confessor to support his explanation).

IMHO, I think people throw the term "heretical" around too easily on OC.net We ought to be more circumspect.

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« Reply #36 on: November 11, 2006, 01:17:32 PM »

IMHO, I think people throw the term "heretical" around too easily on OC.net We ought to be more circumspect.

Quote of the day!

Amen.
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« Reply #37 on: November 11, 2006, 05:24:16 PM »

Ozgeorge you will have to take that up with Fr. Gabriel. I refer you to pp 129-142 of Mary the Untrodden Portal of God.
No need to. Vladimir Moss already did   Wink:
http://www.romanitas.ru/eng/THE%20ICON%20OF%20THE%20HOLY%20TRINITY.htm
Just because a priest publishes something in a book does not make it unchallengable.

IMHO, I think people throw the term "heretical" around too easily on OC.net We ought to be more circumspect.
IMHO those who do not question something simply because an Orthodox Priest said it are in no way being circumspect. Wink
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« Reply #38 on: November 11, 2006, 06:39:22 PM »

ozgeorge
don't be so quick to take issue

also, I don't accept everything any priest writes; many write things that differ from one another and they all can't be equally correct. My point was that this is within the parameters of Orthodox debate on the subject and Fr. Gabriel is an especially respected writer by many, so we ought to take pause to hear what he has to say and not throw around the term heretical
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« Reply #39 on: November 12, 2006, 04:03:46 AM »

ozgeorge
don't be so quick to take issue
I haven't taken issue (hence the winking smilies).

also, I don't accept everything any priest writes; many write things that differ from one another and they all can't be equally correct. My point was that this is within the parameters of Orthodox debate on the subject and Fr. Gabriel is an especially respected writer by many, so we ought to take pause to hear what he has to say and not throw around the term heretical

I'm not throwing the term "heretical" around willy-nilly. Any Icon which depicts the Hypostatic Union of Christ as two distinct hypostases is heretical.

St. Theodore the Studite says:
"all portrait is, in any case, the portrait of a hypostasis, and not of a nature, . . . the image and the similitude with the prototype can only refer to one hypostasis and not to two."

Therefore, as far as I can see, to depict Christ as two distinct Hypostases (The Incarnate Christ sitting next to Christ as the Ancient of Days) is the iconographic representation of the Nestorian heresy. And it amazes me that this would be more acceptable to Fr. George S. Gabriel than to admit that the Ancient of Days in the New Testament Trinity Icon represents the Hypostasis of the Father.
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« Reply #40 on: April 30, 2008, 08:35:30 PM »

From Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow...
http://www.xxc.ru/english/foto/inside/s01/f003.htm


That looks just awefull ..it look so very western ugh..........Christ has risen.......SmileyCentral.com" border="0
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« Reply #41 on: April 30, 2008, 09:12:22 PM »

Those Seraphim horrify me...
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« Reply #42 on: April 30, 2008, 09:57:55 PM »

Hope this mosaic with the Father depicted in it from the serbian orthodox cathederal  shows up................SmileyCentral.com" border="0Christ Has Risen.....




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« Reply #43 on: April 30, 2008, 10:39:43 PM »

Brother Aidan,
I understand your concern and I support it, but often these churches were poor all the time or at least at the time of their foundation. They proceeded with those icons that they could get. Now, of course, a brand new parish or a parish which goes through a renovation process, should find some ways to enhance their interiors with more attention on iconostasis. Even when the money is a big issue, at least for a temporary decision, some icons can be copied, printed from Internet and enlarged, etc.

Except that these iconostasis are very ornate, with lots of gold filegre and hand carved edges. So I don't think the cost was the issue. I just think in the old country alot of these eastern Europeans were more exposed to western influenced, late Russian iconography than to the byzantine style
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« Reply #44 on: May 01, 2008, 12:51:07 AM »

I just think in the old country alot of these eastern Europeans were more exposed to western influenced, late Russian iconography than to the byzantine style.
I think that this is more true than not. Are there any ancient icons that depict the Father, that are Orthodox?
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« Reply #45 on: May 13, 2008, 12:57:02 AM »

Here's another example of the Ancient of Days icon recently uncovered.  Last year in Shanghai, China, the municipal bureau of housing, land and resources authorized the restoration of the icon frescoes that had been covered by plaster since the Cultural Revolution.   This is the same cathedral dedicated to the Our Lady the Surety of Sinners icon built under the supervision of St John Maximovitch, where he held services under these very icons.  The restoration was completed in September 2007.  The icon was used in the dome where we typically see the Pantocrater icon.



Further reading and additional images: http://orthodox.cn/contemporary/shanghai/cathedral_en.htm

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« Reply #46 on: May 13, 2008, 01:18:00 AM »

Only the sapphire "floor" of the icon is accurate based on what Moses saw.

Unless the figure was meant to be Enoch who was translated into Heaven and never experienced death because he "walked with God."

I would become nauseous if I started thinking of the figure in the icon as God.   Shocked
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« Reply #47 on: May 13, 2008, 01:35:48 AM »

Why is God wearing a pink shirt? Was he Metro before the ages?
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« Reply #48 on: May 13, 2008, 01:38:05 AM »

This image is simply a heretical version borrowed from the Greek tradition. In Russian its known as the "Paternity" but in the greek Church the earliest version of this icon is Christ as the Ancient of Days with The infant Christ (sometimes a mature Christ on the lap). It represents the 'ages of Christ' and is taken from the Service of the Presentation to the Temple, where the hymn reads "The Ancient of Days becomes a Child for us". The canonical greek icon can be seen in the Panagia Koumbelidiki Church in Kastoria Greece and dates to the 13th century.

The earliest version of the canonical greek icon is in a minature from the 11th century greek Lectionary (codex 587) of the Dionysiou Monastery on Athos.

Of course the image in the chinese church can be interpreted to be Christ as the Ancient of Days, without a nimbus it can go wither way, regardless its way too western for me.
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« Reply #49 on: May 13, 2008, 01:55:32 AM »

The "painting" brings to mind the Pregnant Man since the "painting" is depicted in the same manner as the Platytera (the infant Christ in the womb of this "man").

EDIT - I drew an analogy between the "painting" and recent news reports of transgendered pregnancy since the painting infers the possibility of a transgendered divine entity which doesn't exist in the Orthodox faith.

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« Reply #50 on: May 13, 2008, 04:07:02 AM »

Thomas,
My point was that the image of the Ancient of Days on the Kursk Root Icon dates to the 13th century. This makes the "17th/18th century Western influence" theory a bit problematic.

I am new to this forum, and I realise I am replying to a rather old post, but I must make this comment: The Kursk-Root icon as we now know it is a composite of images. The central panel (of the Mother of God of the Sign) dates from the 13thC, the figures of the prophets and God the Father surrounding the Mother of God are from the 17th or 18thC, and were grafted on to the original central panel.

As for the mural uncovered in Shanghai, this is simply a copy of the painting (I cannot call that image an icon) in the cupola at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow. Sadly, the rebuilt Cathedral has been decorated with paintings in the same form as the original 19thC building. Not only is there an unmistakeably uncanonical, overblown "Trinity" complete with Gerber baby Jesus, but an "icon" of St Juliana Olshanskaya with her right hand raised, her fingers arranged in a clerical blessing.

It is understandable that such mistakes were made in earlier centuries, where western influence had almost completely swamped traditional iconography and church music in every Orthodox country. But not nowadays. Rebuild the cathedral, by all means, as a gesture of the restoration of Orthodoxy to its rightful place after the fall of communism, particularly as this cathedral was destroyed in 1931 on the personal order of Josef Stalin, and its destruction was officially documented in print and on film. Rebuild the cathedral as it once was. But it grieves me that a golden opportunity was lost to paint true icons in the new cathedral, icons true to the theology and doctrines of Orthodoxy, icons full of quiet dignity and power, expressing the sublime things of God. Instead, we have a lush, baroque extravaganza, overblown and preposterous. So sad. So very sad.
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« Reply #51 on: May 13, 2008, 10:54:00 AM »

Welcome LBK!
Thanks for the information, and don't worry about bringing up old threads- this is much more productive and helpful than starting a new one!
If you click on the tab "Ancient of Days" at the bottom of this thread, you will find a list of threads about this topic.

One of the things I often say is that the only canon against depictions of God the Father in iconography is the one from the Great Synod of Moscow, so really, it's not binding on the whole Church.
Another point is that according to Orthodox teaching, Icons depict hypostasis, not nature. So an Icon of God the Father is not depicting the Divine Nature, but rather, the Hypostasis of the Father as the Ancient of Days. Icons are likenesses with respect to the hypostasis of the Prototype and need not be pictorially accurate. For example, the Forerunner St. John the Baptist is often depicted with wings in Icons, even though he did not actually have wings.
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« Reply #52 on: May 13, 2008, 11:31:38 AM »

ozgeorge,
In your post in this thread back in 2006 you mentioned that an icon can depict a person twice if it is showing two different events in time.  When I look at this icon, informed by my orthodox faith, I see that it is teaching that Christ is eternally begotten of the Father.  Of course communicating the pre-incarnate Christ requires symbology, so Christ is depicted as an ancient man.   To my mind it is a suggestion that Christ is eternal, and even before He is incarnate, He is person.  Second, by depicting Christ as a youth, sitting on the fabric, it clearly suggests the incarnation.  The fabric represents creation, and by sitting on top of it as a youth, it affirms that Christ truly entered into our created world as one of us.  The dove is the Holy Spirit, by which He was incarnate and made man.  I have never seen this icon before last night.  Would you consider this a heretical icon if it is understood this way as an affirmation of Christ being both eternal and incarnate?

I find it ironic that so many prefer the actions of Chairman Mao and Stalin over the wisdom of the holy Bishop John Maximovitch!  We can only speculate why St John decided to put this image in the dome.  Being acquainted with Taoist painting, I wonder if St John chose an icon that depicts Christ as an old man because he knew that immortality in traditional Chinese paintings is communicated as elderly human figures.
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« Reply #53 on: May 13, 2008, 12:43:29 PM »

When I look at this icon, informed by my orthodox faith, I see ....
Which Icon are you referring to?
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« Reply #54 on: May 13, 2008, 01:18:01 PM »

Which Icon are you referring to?
The frescoe in the dome in Shanghai and, apparently, the Moscow original (which I havent seen). 
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« Reply #55 on: May 13, 2008, 03:20:19 PM »

Perhaps this a a dumb and iconographically anachronistic question, but isn't the Son the image of the Father?  How do these other representations square with that?

Maybe Rublev's Visitation icon is hard to fit within that understanding, but the three figures are of angels, as they are represented in icons.

ozgeorge, I'm having a hard time pinning down where your points fit within what little I know of the Orthodox iconographical tradition.  This is probably because of my ignorance.  I'll have to go back and read some of those threads.
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« Reply #56 on: May 13, 2008, 03:31:29 PM »

The frescoe in the dome in Shanghai and, apparently, the Moscow original (which I havent seen). 
I don't actually think this Icon can be interpreted as being Christ as the Ancient of Days and the Incarnate Christ, because the infant in the Icon is holding a scroll which says "ΛΟΓΟΣ" ("LOGOS") which clearly identifies Him as the Logos.
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« Reply #57 on: May 13, 2008, 11:30:13 PM »

I am new to this forum,
Welcome, LBK, and well met. Smiley  May you continue to grace our forum with your posts.

Quote
and I realise I am replying to a rather old post,
No need to worry about that.  As ozgeorge said, this is a great way to tie current thoughts to what has been said before.
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« Reply #58 on: May 15, 2008, 02:25:31 AM »

Welcome LBK!
One of the things I often say is that the only canon against depictions of God the Father in iconography is the one from the Great Synod of Moscow, so really, it's not binding on the whole Church.

On the contrary, ozgeorge. Consider these statements of St John of Damascus (8thC), in his treatise On the Holy Images:

Of old God the incorporeal and uncircumscribed was not depicted at all. But now that God has appeared in the flesh and lived among men, I make an image of the God who can be seen. I do not worship matter but I worship the Creator of matter, who for my sake became material and deigned to dwell in matter, who through matter effected my salvation. I will not cease from worshipping the matter through which my salvation has been effected

If we made an image of the invisible God, we would certainly be in error ... but we do not do anything of the kind; we do not err, in fact, if we make the image of God incarnate who appeared on earth in the flesh, who in His ineffable goodness, lived with men and assumed the nature, the volume, the form, and the colour of the flesh...


and:

Do not represent the Divinity; do not give Him a false form, you blind men, because the Divinity cannot be captured by your eyes. It is impenetrable to your gaze....

St John of Damascus was perhaps the single most important influence in the consideration of the propriety of icons at the Seventh Ecumenical Council.

Returning to your above quote: The Orthodox Church does not take a rigid, juridical approach to its canons. The absence of a written canon does not automatically mean that something is permitted or not permitted. In the absence of written, specific canons, we need look at the whole Tradition of the Church, in its fullness (liturgical, iconographic, dogmatic, historic) to find the answer. For example, is it proper to paint icons of St Joseph the Betrothed holding the infant Christ? (such images, derived from Roman Catholic religious art, have appeared in recent times). There are, of course, no canons at all which can give an answer to this. So what is an iconographer to do? He looks at the historical record (what is written about the life of St Joseph, and what icons exist in history of him?), the patristic record (what do the Fathers of the Church have to say about Joseph?) and, most importantly, to the liturgical material written for St Joseph. This last element is most important, as the liturgical tradition represents the consensus patrum of the Church. It is what the whole Orthodox Church proclaims and teaches.

With regard to the Great Council of Moscow being a "local" council, and therefore not binding on the Church as a whole, it is a false argument indeed to ascribe a lesser importance or authority to local councils (as opposed to the Ecumenical Councils) such as it, or the Stoglav Council, or of other local councils held in various places, including Constantinople and other cities, which ruled on the canonicity of many images. A local council has the same force of authority as an ecumenical council, if the decisions and canons of such a council conform to the "mind" of the Orthodox Church as a whole. During the pre-schism period, the canons of local councils were ratified by a subsequent ecumenical council. However, even in the post-schism period, there are any number of local councils whose rulings have been validated by the Orthodox Church, as well as other local councils which have been rejected as invalid, such as the Council of Lyons (1274), of Ferrara-Florence (1438-1443), and others. To my knowledge, the Stoglav council, and other local councils which dealt with iconographic matters, have never been repudiated by any other local Orthodox Church, or by the Church as a whole. Therefore, their rulings continue to stand. 
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« Reply #59 on: May 15, 2008, 03:18:40 AM »

Of old God the incorporeal and uncircumscribed was not depicted at all. But now that God has appeared in the flesh and lived among men, I make an image of the God who can be seen. I do not worship matter but I worship the Creator of matter, who for my sake became material and deigned to dwell in matter, who through matter effected my salvation. I will not cease from worshipping the matter through which my salvation has been effected
St. John Damascene says:
"I make an image of the God who can be seen."

Our Lord says:
"If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him." (John 14:7)
and:
"Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?" (John 14:9)


If we made an image of the invisible God, we would certainly be in error ... but we do not do anything of the kind; we do not err, in fact, if we make the image of God incarnate who appeared on earth in the flesh, who in His ineffable goodness, lived with men and assumed the nature, the volume, the form, and the colour of the flesh...


and:

Do not represent the Divinity; do not give Him a false form, you blind men, because the Divinity cannot be captured by your eyes. It is impenetrable to your gaze....
Which is exactly what I said here:
Another point is that according to Orthodox teaching, Icons depict hypostasis, not nature. So an Icon of God the Father is not depicting the Divine Nature, but rather, the Hypostasis of the Father as the Ancient of Days. Icons are likenesses with respect to the hypostasis of the Prototype and need not be pictorially accurate. For example, the Forerunner St. John the Baptist is often depicted with wings in Icons, even though he did not actually have wings.
This is what St. John Damascene is saying. We cannot represent the Divine Nature in Icons, we can only represent hypostases.

Returning to your above quote: The Orthodox Church does not take a rigid, juridical approach to its canons.
I know! which is why we have Icons of the "New Testament Trinity" even in Russian Churches now.

A local council has the same force of authority as an ecumenical council, if the decisions and canons of such a council conform to the "mind" of the Orthodox Church as a whole.
Yep, and what I'm saying is that the Great Synod of Moscow may not have conformed to the mind of the Church.

Therefore, their rulings continue to stand. 
Well, actually, the anathema on the Old Believers has been lifted by the Moscow Patriarchate in 1971 and by ROCOR in 1974.
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« Reply #60 on: May 15, 2008, 04:51:11 AM »

Quote
Well, actually, the anathema on the Old Believers has been lifted by the Moscow Patriarchate in 1971 and by ROCOR in 1974.

This statement is entirely irrelevant to the matter being discussed on this thread, which is the iconographic portrayal of God the Father.

Quote
Our Lord says:
"If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him." (John 14:7)
and:
"Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?" (John 14:9)

The Orthodox interpretation is quite straightforward: Christ is saying that He is God, and from God, and of God, in the same way that St John the Evangelist opens his Gospel with "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God ..."

You write:

Quote
Yep, and what I'm saying is that the Great Synod of Moscow may not have conformed to the mind of the Church.

I wrote that the "mind of the Church", its consensus patrum, is expressed in its liturgical texts. The liturgical texts of the Church are the essence, the heart, the distillation of what the entire Church teaches and proclaims, irrespective of geography, local "culture", or liturgical language used. Iconography, similarly, must conform to the liturgical, doctrinal, and scriptural traditions of the Church. It is the visual equivalent of the written word of the liturgical tradition.

There must be complete harmony between the written and the visual. Icons show the things of God which have been revealed to us. Where in any liturgical text does it say that God the Father has manifested Himself as a bearded old man? Is there a verse from a feast of the Church which says this, or a patristic tract? Is there a Triadikon/Troitsen which describes, or even hints at this?

As for the "Ancient of Days" as representing God the Father, the short answer to that is: no, He represents God the Son, as others on this thread have correctly stated.

Quote
St. John Damascene says:
"I make an image of the God who can be seen."

Precisely. Is it necessary to state that St John speaks of God the Son? God the Son, the Word of God, was as invisible, indescribable and incomprehensible as God the Father, until His incarnation. The words of the kontakion for the Sunday of Orthodoxy are no accident:

No one could describe the Word of the Father; but when He took flesh from you, O Mother of God, He accepted to be described, and restored the fallen image to its former beauty. We confess and proclaim our salvation in word and images.












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« Reply #61 on: May 15, 2008, 06:51:02 AM »

This statement is entirely irrelevant to the matter being discussed on this thread, which is the iconographic portrayal of God the Father.
But it is not irrelevant to your claim that "their rulings continue to stand" since one of their rulings has been rescinded by the Russian Church itself.

The Orthodox interpretation is quite straightforward: Christ is saying that He is God, and from God, and of God, in the same way that St John the Evangelist opens his Gospel with "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God ..."
How do you know this is the "Orthodox interpretation" of these Gospel passages?

I wrote that the "mind of the Church", its consensus patrum, is expressed in its liturgical texts. The liturgical texts of the Church are the essence, the heart, the distillation of what the entire Church teaches and proclaims, irrespective of geography, local "culture", or liturgical language used. Iconography, similarly, must conform to the liturgical, doctrinal, and scriptural traditions of the Church. It is the visual equivalent of the written word of the liturgical tradition.

There must be complete harmony between the written and the visual. Icons show the things of God which have been revealed to us. Where in any liturgical text does it say that God the Father has manifested Himself as a bearded old man? Is there a verse from a feast of the Church which says this, or a patristic tract? Is there a Triadikon/Troitsen which describes, or even hints at this?
Which liturgical text says that we cannot depict God the Father as the Ancient of Days?

As for the "Ancient of Days" as representing God the Father, the short answer to that is: no, He represents God the Son, as others on this thread have correctly stated.
This may be the case in the Apocalypse, but if this is the case in the Book of Daniel, then who is the "Son of Man" who ascends to Heaven and stands before the Ancient of Days and receives Dominion from Him (Daniel 7:13-14)? Does Christ give Himself Dominion or does the Father Who begot Him?













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« Reply #62 on: May 15, 2008, 05:42:53 PM »


God the Father in iconography can be historically traced back to Roman Catholicism.
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« Reply #63 on: May 15, 2008, 10:13:18 PM »

God the Father in iconography can be historically traced back to Roman Catholicism.

Satan actually created Roman Catholicism! Euthymios for such an intelligent linguist it's interesting how you never have probable sources for these outrageous claims that you make.
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« Reply #64 on: May 15, 2008, 10:26:36 PM »

Satan actually created Roman Catholicism!
While the devil is responsible for divisions and discord between people, he cannot "create" anything.
We have some very good people on this forum who are Roman Catholics, how do you think they might feel if they hear you say that what they believe is "created by Satan"?
As soon as we lose our temper and start flinging insults against people, we might as well throw in the towel, because we've lost the argument. Please refrain from insulting other people's faiths.


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« Reply #65 on: May 15, 2008, 10:35:32 PM »

While the devil is responsible for divisions and discord between people, he cannot "create" anything.
We have some very good people on this forum who are Roman Catholics, how do you think they might feel if they hear you say that what they believe is "created by Satan"?
As soon as we lose our temper and start flinging insults against people, we might as well throw in the towel, because we've lost the argument. Please refrain from insulting other people's faiths.


George forgive me. I made this statement in sarcasm trying to show a link between Euthymios' statement that "God the Father in iconography can be historically traced back to Roman Catholicism." and how ludicrous the statement is and trying to show its thoughtlessness. I truly apologize to my Catholic brothers for any hurt that I may have caused.
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« Reply #66 on: May 15, 2008, 10:54:08 PM »

I truly apologize to my Catholic brothers for any hurt that I may have caused.
Thank you for your great example of how a Christian should behave.
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« Reply #67 on: May 15, 2008, 11:01:59 PM »

I don't actually think this Icon can be interpreted as being Christ as the Ancient of Days and the Incarnate Christ, because the infant in the Icon is holding a scroll which says "ΛΟΓΟΣ" ("LOGOS") which clearly identifies Him as the Logos.
I actually find it fitting that Christ as Ancient of days has no human language identifier, whereas the Incarnate Christ does.
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« Reply #68 on: May 15, 2008, 11:43:15 PM »

Now now, its probably true that Euthymios said this out of spite, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. The Orthodox Council of Constantinople has also condemned depictions of God the Father in 1776, "We synodically declare that the so-called icon of the Holy Trinity, a recent invention, is alien and unacceptable to the Apostolic and Catholic Orthodox Church. It was transmitted to the Orthodox Church from the Latins".

The veneration of icons is based on the theology of protoypes. That the veneration given to the icon is passed onto the prototype. But only that which is created and has some sort of materiality of its own has a protoype. St. John of Damascus makes this clear on his Second Homily on the Divine Images:
"If we were to attempt to make an image of the invisible God, we would indeed be sinning, because it is impossible for the bodiless, formless, invisible, and uncircumscribed God to be painted.

John of Damascus is adamant about this in his First Homily on Dvivine Images (ch8) "How does one paint the invisible? When you behold the bodiless One, becoming a man for you...and he has the properties of a body, then you may paint his ineffable condescension, His birth from a Virgin."

God the Father and the Trinity have no prototype thus they cannot be depicted or venerated in picture form. Hence the icon of the OT Trinity of the three angels is only a type of the Trinity. When one venerates that icon the honor does not pass onto the Trinity but instead the honor passes onto the historical event which it depicts- which is Abraham's Hospitality towards the three angels mentioned in Gen 18.1-5.

That God the Father and the Trinity are uncircumscribable is taught in the acts of the 7th Ecumenical Council:

"The unbuilt up, individivisible, incomprehensible and NON-CIRCUMSCRIBED Trinity, He wholly and alone is to be worshipped and adored...... These honorable and venerable images, as has been said, we honor and salute and reverently venerate, to wit the image of the incarnation of our Great God and Savior  Jesus Christ and our Spotless Lady the all-holy Mother of God from whom He pleased to take flesh and to save and rescue us from all impious idolatry. Also the images of the holy and incorporeal Angels who as men appeared to the just. Likewise also the figures and effigies of the divine and all-lauded Apostles, also of the God-speaking prophets, and the struggling martyrs and holy men. So that through their representations we may be lead back in memory and recollection to the prototype, and have a share in the holiness of some of them." ( SESSION 4, 7TH ECUMENICAL COUNCIL)

Any argument that Daniel 7 sanctions the depictability of God the Father has the burden of proving that such an icon has ever existed. There has never been an icon depicting Daniels vision. Those in favor of depicting the Father have attempted to persuade those not versed in Iconography, that the Trinity painting, of an old white bearded man and Christ seated next to him with a dove in the middle is the vision found in Daniel !. Unfortunately iconographers refer to this as the New Testament Trinity, because it has nothing to do with the old testament and instead is a corruption of the white bearded Christ described in Rev 1.13-14 which some iconographers have confused as the Father.
In fact outside of the NT, the white bearded Christ is first depicted in another important early Christian writing. A writing which maybe the most important historical account of a martyrdom in all of Christianity and this is the Passion of St Perpetua in approx 205 a.d. Where a ladder leading up to a heavenly garden, where Perpetua sees the shepherd (Christ) milking his sheep, and the hair on his head is white as snow.

Those Fathers that interpreted Daniel 7 to be God the Father is simply the lingering effects of the Church before Revelations was recieved into the Canon. The Apocalypse of St John was not accepted until after 500 a.d.. But once it was accepted along with the influence of the martrology of Perpetua, the Church agreed that the Ancient of Days is Christ. This is revealed in the Festal Menaion of the Service of the Presenation of Christ to the Temple, and of the most ancient canonical icons of the Ancient of Days as Christ.

Here are two of the earliest icons of Christ as the Ancient of Days and both predate any God the Father image:

http://all-photo.ru/icon/index.en.html?kk=8e56770132&img=28405&big=on


http://all-photo.ru/icon/index.en.html?kk=8e56770132&img=18240&big=on
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« Reply #69 on: May 16, 2008, 12:26:17 AM »

^The icons look like the depictions of Melchizedek.
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« Reply #70 on: May 16, 2008, 12:44:49 AM »

^The icons look like the depictions of Melchizedek.

Perhaps not surprising, that Melchizedek is a type for Christ. Melchizedek is described as King of Peace (heb 7.2) and Christ as the Prince of Peace in (Isaiah. 9). "And without father and without mother without descent having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God abideth a priest continually (Heb7.3)". Isnt Heb 7.3 describing a type of the Ancient of Days by saying he neither has beginning of days nor end of life of whom is Christ?
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« Reply #71 on: May 16, 2008, 02:49:05 AM »

But it is not irrelevant to your claim that "their rulings continue to stand" since one of their rulings has been rescinded by the Russian Church itself.

Of course it is irrelevant, ozgeorge. A child can see that. The revocations you speak of are not related to the iconography of God the Father, but to the status of the Old Believers in the eyes of the Russian Church.

Quote
How do you know this is the "Orthodox interpretation" of these Gospel passages?

I am an Orthodox Christian, ozgeorge, and I keep my eyes and ears open during church services. I have yet to be told by any Orthodox priest or bishop that this interpretation is incorrect.

Quote
Which liturgical text says that we cannot depict God the Father as the Ancient of Days?

Here is some liturgical material referring to the Ancient of Days, from the Vigil service of the Meeting of the Lord. Other verses I am quoting refer to OT prophecies, which have been frequently, but mistakenly, interpreted as referring to God the Father:

From Vespers, at the Litia:

The Ancient of Days, who also gave the Law to Moses on Sinai, today appears as a babe. And according to the Law, as Maker of the Law, fulfilling the Law, He is brought to the temple and given to the Elder. The righteous Symeon, having received Him and seen the accomplishment of the decrees completed, cried out with joy: My eyes have seen the Mystery hidden from eternity, made manifest in these last times: a light that dispels the dark folly of the unbelieving nations and the glory of the newly chosen Israel. Therefore, release Your servant from the bonds of this flesh for the wondrous life that is ageless and unceasing, You who grant the world Your great mercy.

Today He who of old gave the Law to Moses on Sinai bows to the ordinances of the Law, having become for us like us in His compassion. Now God, who is pure, having opened a pure womb as a holy Child, as God is being offered to Himself, freeing us from the curse of the Law and enlightening our souls.

Today Symeon receives in his embrace the Lord of glory, whom Moses saw of old in darkness giving him the Tablets of the Law on Sinai. This is He who speaks in the Prophets and is the Maker of the Law. This is He whom David proclaimed, He who is fearful to all, He who has great and rich mercy.

The Ancient of Days, becoming an infant in the flesh, is being brought to the Temple by a Virgin Mother, as He fulfils the ordinance of His own Law. Symeon received Him and said: Now let Your servant depart in peace according to Your word. For my eyes, O Lord, have seen Your salvation.’


At Matins, Sessional Hymn, following the Polyeleos:

The Ancient of Days becomes an infant for my sake. God, who is most pure, shares in purifications that He may confirm my flesh, which He took from a Virgin. And Symeon, initiated into the mystery, acknowledged Him as God who had appeared in the flesh and greeted him as Life. As an old man, with joy he cried, ‘Release me, for I have seen You, the Life of all.’

Canon, ode 5:

When Isaiah in a figure saw God on an exalted throne, escorted by Angels of glory, he cried: Woe is me!, for I have seen beforehand God in a body, Lord of the light that knows no evening and Lord of peace.

When the godly Elder saw the Word held in the hands of His Mother, he understood that this was the glory revealed of old to the Prophet. He cried out: Hail, holy Lady, for, like a throne, you hold God, Lord of the light that knows no evening and Lord of peace.


 
Quote
This may be the case in the Apocalypse, but if this is the case in the Book of Daniel, then who is the "Son of Man" who ascends to Heaven and stands before the Ancient of Days and receives Dominion from Him (Daniel 7:13-14)? Does Christ give Himself Dominion or does the Father Who begot Him?

The same wording is in Daniel, as is in Revelation. The dominion is given to His holy ones, described in verse 13 as "like the son of man". Verse 18: But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.’ If you continue reading Dan. 7, you will find that the Ancient of Days sits in judgement, and rules in favour of His holy ones.  This is a prefiguration of the Second Coming of Christ, the Righteous Judge.

Christ is constantly referred to in this way in prayers, liturgically, and iconographically. During the Litany of Supplication at the Divine Liturgy, and at Vespers and Matins, we hear the petition: That the end of our lives may be Christian, painless, blameless and peaceful, and for a good defence before the dread judgement-seat of Christ, let us ask of the Lord. Icons of the Archangel Michael frequently show him holding a translucent round disc, in which are written the Greek letters Χ Δ Κ. This is the acronym for Khristos Dikaios Kritis (Christ the Righteous Judge).

Returning to Christ being the image and likeness of the Father, and the fallacy of ascribing human features to God the Father, in the light of John's Gospel you quoted earlier:

From St John of Damascus, On the Holy Images:

Images are of various kinds. First, there is the natural image. In everything the natural conception must be the first, then we come to institution according to imitation. The Son is the first natural and unchangeable image of the invisible God, the Father, showing the Father in Himself. "For no man has seen God." (Jn. 1.18) Again, "Not that any one has seen the Father." (Jn. 6.46) The apostle says that the Son is the image of the Father: "Who is the image of the invisible God," (Col. 1.15) and to the Hebrews, "Who being the brightness of His glory, and the figure of His substance." (Heb. 1.3) In the Gospel of St John we find that He does show the Father in Himself. When Philip said to Him, "Show us the Father and it is enough for us," [94] our Lord replied, "Have I been so long with you and have you not known Me, Philip? He who sees Me, sees the Father." (Jn. 14.8-9) For the Son is the natural image of the Father, unchangeable, in everything like to the Father, except that He is begotten, and that He is not the Father. The Father begets, being unbegotten. The Son is begotten, and is not the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the image of the Son. For no one can say the Lord Jesus, except in the Holy Spirit. (I Cor. 12.3) Through the Holy Spirit we know Christ, the Son of God and God, and in the Son we look upon the Father. For in things that are conceived by nature, language is the interpreter, and spirit is the interpreter of language. The Holy Spirit is the perfect and unchangeable image of the Son, differing only in His procession. The Son is begotten, but does not proceed. And the son of any father is his natural image. Thus, the natural is the first kind of image.
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« Reply #72 on: May 16, 2008, 01:15:32 PM »

Of course it is irrelevant, ozgeorge. A child can see that. The revocations you speak of are not related to the iconography of God the Father, but to the status of the Old Believers in the eyes of the Russian Church.
LBK,

Whether you're right or wrong, insulting the person with whom you are debating by insinuating that his intelligence is less than that of a child is not a good way to persuade your opponent or to earn his respect.

Quote
I am an Orthodox Christian, ozgeorge, and I keep my eyes and ears open during church services. I have yet to be told by any Orthodox priest or bishop that this interpretation is incorrect.
ozgeorge asked you how you know your interpretation is the [definitive] "Orthodox interpretation."  There's a difference between your interpretation simply not being declared incorrect and actually being THE [unique] Orthodox norm by which all other interpretations are judged.  The standard you've put forward is in reality a much lower standard of provability than the latter that ozgeorge implied in his inquiry.
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« Reply #73 on: May 16, 2008, 04:08:39 PM »

While I agree that the tone taken against ozgeorge was uncalled for, I do have to salute LBK for the following:

Here is some liturgical material referring to the Ancient of Days, from the Vigil service of the Meeting of the Lord. Other verses I am quoting refer to OT prophecies, which have been frequently, but mistakenly, interpreted as referring to God the Father...

ozgeorge, I know we PMed about this a couple of years ago, but permit me to "join the [public] chorus:

Another point is that according to Orthodox teaching, Icons depict hypostasis, not nature. So an Icon of God the Father is not depicting the Divine Nature, but rather, the Hypostasis of the Father as the Ancient of Days.

This is what St. John Damascene is saying. We cannot represent the Divine Nature in Icons, we can only represent hypostases.

Aside from the Ancient of Days being liturgically and iconographically identified specifically with the incarnate LOGOS, there's another question regarding your stance which I haven't ever heard you address (perhaps I'm just negligent, though -- if so, forgive me).  The specific contradistinction St. John of Damascus draws between depicting "the incorporeal and uncircumscribed [Who] was not depicted at all" and depicting the One Who "has appeared in the flesh and lived among men" seems to run right over your distinction between inacurrately depicting the Father's hypostasis and attempting to depict the divine Nature.  It's as if St. John says explicitly that depictions of the Father are right out, as He, in His Person, has not been circumscribed in the flesh and therefore cannot be depicted.  In contrast, however, St. John makes an image only of that divine Person Whom he can see, Who has been circumscribed in flesh.
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« Reply #74 on: May 16, 2008, 04:37:47 PM »

Aside from the Ancient of Days being liturgically and iconographically identified specifically with the incarnate LOGOS, there's another question regarding your stance which I haven't ever heard you address (perhaps I'm just negligent, though -- if so, forgive me).  The specific contradistinction St. John of Damascus draws between depicting "the incorporeal and uncircumscribed [Who] was not depicted at all" and depicting the One Who "has appeared in the flesh and lived among men" seems to run right over your distinction between inacurrately depicting the Father's hypostasis and attempting to depict the divine Nature.  It's as if St. John says explicitly that depictions of the Father are right out, as He, in His Person, has not been circumscribed in the flesh and therefore cannot be depicted.  In contrast, however, St. John makes an image only of that divine Person Whom he can see, Who has been circumscribed in flesh.
I have argued that Christ is the Icon of the Father and has revealed Him to us.
But an image of the Father cannot be made apart from the Incarnation. Daniel may have seen a vision, but it was the Incarnate Christ Who revealed the Father to us.
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« Reply #75 on: May 16, 2008, 09:46:04 PM »

My thoughts:

In these modern times, embracing religious pluralism is the “norm” in any “politically-correct” discussion.  There are so many versions of “god” out there, and yet the TRINITY remains wholly unique and distinct among all other concepts of the divinity. 

It is for this reason I have always cherished icons that depict all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity.  Granted, I’m not too fond of extremely western/Renaissance style icons.  However, I have seen several old-style/non-western Greek, Coptic, Ethiopian, Romanian, Macedonian, and I’m fairly certain even Russian icons of all Three Persons. 

In an age that proclaims all religions have an equally legit/correct view of God, a single icon of the Holy Trinity can bring the viewer to an immediate awareness of Christianity’s completely unique view/understanding of God.
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« Reply #76 on: May 20, 2008, 01:09:56 AM »

referring to the Ancient of Days, from the Vigil service of the Meeting of the Lord. Other verses I am quoting refer to OT prophecies, which have been frequently, but mistakenly, interpreted as referring to God the Father father is his natural image. Thus, the natural is the first kind of image.

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 #77 on: May 20, 2008, 03:39:56 AM »

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."



Here is a perfect example of the fact that even saints are fallible and err. The Orthodox Church does not believe the Ancient of Days in Daniel's vision to be the Father, but was only the opinion of some Fathers and is not the consensus of the Church,  these opinons are not shared by the liturgical texts, nor by the traditions of canonical iconography, nor has there existed an image of the Father based on the events described in Daniel 7. In fact there has never existed an icon of God the Father  or the (NT)Trinity, before, during or for many centuries after the 7th Ecumenical Council, this is a historical fact beyond any reasonable shadow of a doubt.  It is a product of certain Russian monks of the 15th century, thru whom the modernist western painting of the NT Trinity entered Mt Athos and from there into Greece and other areas.

I will keep in mind this passage of St. Nikodemos as proof that even saints have fallen into error. As a rebutal i will quote from the first local council to condemn iconoclasm held in Rome in 731 a.d.:

"Whoever removes, destroys, dishonors, or insults the images of the Savior, His Holy Mother, or the Apostles, will not recieve the Holy Body and Blood of the Savior and will be excluded from the Church."

As you can see from the Roman council of 731a.d. One is not condemned as an iconoclast for desecrating God the Father depictions, in fact they never even existed at that time (contrary to what St Nikodemus believes). This is further expanded upon by the 7th Ecumenical council:

Likewise the venerable images of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the humanity He assumed for our salvation , and of our spotless Lady, the Holy Mother of God,  and of the angels like unto God, and of the Holy Apostles, Prophets, Martyrs, and of all the Saints, the sacred images of all of these i salute and venerate...."(SESSION 1 7th ecumenical council), As you can see God the Father depictions are NOT included.

The champion of Iconography and a contemporary of the 7th Ecumenical Council, St Theodore the Studite confirms that images of the Trinity or God the Father do not exist nor can they:

"Men and angels are images of God. We are obliged to make icons of both and offer veneration to them...But by discarding images of everything that has a depictable nature you have also discarded images of every heavenly and earthly thing, EXCEPT for the Holy Trinity, for it alone is not made into an icon because it is not a creature but the uncreated."(Censure and Refutation of impuous poems)
St Theodore the Studite used the fact that the Church DOES NOT condone God the Father images as a defense of Icons against the iconoclasts:
"If He is not a prototype of His own Icon, neither was He enfleshed, remaining beyond depictability because of the infinity of His deity."(2nd Refutation of the Iconomachs) 

The icon of Christ as the Ancient of Days and Christ as an infant sitting in His lap (erroneously depicted as God the Father in the Shangai church and the false variations known as the 'Paternity' in the russian tradition) is certain imagery borrowed from the Great Vesper Service of the Meeting of the Lord where 2 forms of the same hypostasis of Christ is meant to be depicted as a dichotomy between young and old, Being found in time while being timeless:

"Let the gate of heaven be opened today, For He who is without beginning, The Logos of the Father, has made a beginning in time without forsaking his divinity...."

"The Ancient of Days, a young child  in the flesh was brought to the temple by his mother the Virgin fulfilling the ordinance of His own law".

Many of these liturgical quotes have already been posted in a previous reply. As for the anathema mentioned above (from session 5 of the council) is better translated as, "Anathema to those who do not accept the visions of the prophets and reject the iconographies of the wonderous, prophetic visions, of the Logos before the incarnation....  This more accurate translation is verified by the fact that in the Service of The Meeting of our Lord in the Temple, where Christ is mentioned as the Ancient of Days, the OT reading is from Isaiah 6.1-12  another heavenly vision where many originally interpreted to be God the Father, but the worship of our Church verifies it being Christ, the Ancient of Days.
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« Reply #78 on: May 20, 2008, 04:02:33 AM »

Here is another Icon of Christ as the Ancient of Days within the Russian Tradition -which pre-dates all God the Father images:

http://all-photo.ru/icon/index.en.html?kk=801309a4c2&img=28261&big=on

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« Reply #79 on: May 20, 2008, 09:50:17 AM »

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

...

NB: "It follows that the Beginningless Father must be represented in icons
as He appeared to the Prophet Daniel, as the Ancient of Days."

Good point, buzuxi, as I read this, this is one saint's summary of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, not the council itself.  The council is authoritatively binding, but this commentary?  Not necessarily.
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« Reply #80 on: May 20, 2008, 10:05:13 AM »

Coptic iconography never depicts God the Father.

However the Ethiopians quite happily place three indentical images side by side on the one Throne flanked by the Four Living Creatures: http://www.prairienet.org/~dxmoges/CHI-2.jpg (this may take a moment to load on dial-up)

Personally I like such icons although I see how easily they can be misunderstood (by Muslims especially) as indicating three gods. (Of course it does a fine job of displaying three Persons though.)
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« Reply #81 on: May 20, 2008, 12:49:51 PM »

I like that icon. Three Persons, yet one Image. Thank you for sharing it.
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« Reply #82 on: May 20, 2008, 02:07:28 PM »

I have argued that Christ is the Icon of the Father and has revealed Him to us.

So we make an "icon of the Icon," as it were, but not of the undepictable One, yes?
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« Reply #83 on: May 20, 2008, 06:19:35 PM »

St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite, in his prolegomena to the Seventh Ecumenical
Council, sums up the Council's decrees on this subject as follows:
...
NB: "It follows that the Beginningless Father must be represented in icons
as He appeared to the Prophet Daniel, as the Ancient of Days."

Good point, buzuxi, as I read this, this is one saint's summary of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, not the council itself.  The council is authoritatively binding, but this commentary?  Not necessarily.
*
Hasn't this just rendered the Council' decision useless?  If a God-illumined Saint and renowned canonist cannot understand the Council correctly, then who can?
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« Reply #84 on: May 20, 2008, 10:47:42 PM »

Personally i wouldnt be surprised if  the final sentence is an interpolation added on by a sympathizer of the God the Father icon years after St Nikodemos death. Knowing all the evidence (as presented in previous posts) Im quite comfortable in concluding that the final sentence is a forgery added onto the original explanation of St Nikodemos years later. It even feels out of place. The translation I used in my post concerning the Anathama is given by George Gabriel which he took from THE 1958 Synodikon of Orthodoxy of Athens Greece,
Here is a link to the Synodikon which uses the same translation of the Anathema as in your original post, when you read it in its entirety and in context you realize the prophetic visions are towards those of the  pre-incarnate Christ not God the Father:

http://web.ukonline.co.uk/ephrem/synodikon.htm

A description is not given as to what the Ancient of Days physically looks like in Daniel. The white hair and beard is the description given of Jesus Christ in his post-ressurected form as the Apostle John saw him in the heavenly vision of Rev 1.13-14, "His head and His hairs were like white as wool, as white as snow .  In my previous post i also mentioned that the Martyrdom of Perpetua written in 203 a.d. also describes a vision of heaven where Christ is described as "white-headed". The Church believes that Daniels vision of the Ancient of Days is the eternal Pre-Incarnate Christ who happens to be the one and same Post-ressurected Christ which John saw in his vision. Thus the Ancient of Days is depicted with white hair and beard.
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« Reply #85 on: June 06, 2008, 09:11:35 PM »




This Romanian icon of the Trinity is definitely in a class all by itself.
Anyone ever seen anything like this in other Orthodox cultures?
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« Reply #86 on: June 06, 2008, 09:18:14 PM »

This Romanian icon of the Trinity is definitely in a class all by itself.
Anyone ever seen anything like this in other Orthodox cultures?

Interesting. I remember seeing a photograph of a Western illuminated manuscript with a similar image to this, but I can't remember if it was pre-schism or not.
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« Reply #87 on: June 07, 2008, 05:19:16 AM »

There are very similar Balkan and Ukrainian images from the early to mid-1800s, but are very rare, and just as hideous and uncanonical as the Romanian one posted by seraphim. Here is a link to one of them:

http://campus.belmont.edu/honors/Christs/001trinity1.jpg
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« Reply #88 on: June 07, 2008, 05:49:38 AM »

There are very similar Balkan and Ukrainian images from the early to mid-1800s, but are very rare, and just as hideous and uncanonical as the Romanian one posted by seraphim. Here is a link to one of them:

http://campus.belmont.edu/honors/Christs/001trinity1.jpg
While I may disagree with you on the Holy Wisdom icon, I must agree with your assessment of this one these.
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« Reply #89 on: June 07, 2008, 10:05:28 AM »

While I like the colours and find it curious, the above Romanian "icon" is rather disorientating. "Hideous" is a good word to describe  it. Does anyone else feel dizzy while looking at it?
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« Reply #90 on: June 07, 2008, 01:30:54 PM »

Well, I do have to say that the Romanian icon gives some credence to the claim advanced by the Jehovah's Witnesses that we do indeed worship a strange, three-headed God. Tongue
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« Reply #91 on: June 07, 2008, 08:03:17 PM »

Serbian icon:

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« Reply #92 on: June 07, 2008, 08:16:09 PM »

Ethiopian icon:



However, it must noted that this iconographer
"left the priesthood to turn to painting full-time, finding the freedom to
venture beyond religious subject matter and to develop a style all his own
." 
source

It wasn't made clear if this particular icon was made before he left the priesthood, but it is still worth noting none-the-less.
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« Reply #93 on: June 07, 2008, 08:19:29 PM »

These are obviously much more traditional/standard Ethiopian methods of depicting the Trinity in iconography:




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« Reply #94 on: June 07, 2008, 08:28:34 PM »

Ethiopian medal:



Quote
Instituted: 2 November 1930 by Emperor Haile Selassie I.

Awarded: For outstanding service to the Crown, civil or military, including that rendered by foreigners.

Grades: Originally 5 (Knight Grand Cross, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer and Member) but now awarded as Grand Cross or Grand Cross with Collar only.
source
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« Reply #95 on: June 07, 2008, 09:02:30 PM »

Serbian icon:



This one horrifies me. I wouldn't even want it in my room - probably give me nightmares. Heh.
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« Reply #96 on: June 07, 2008, 10:10:42 PM »

These are obviously much more traditional/standard Ethiopian methods of depicting the Trinity in iconography:



Um, seraphim, this image is not only an uncanonical version of the Trinity, but it is also depicting the crowning of the Mother of God as the Queen of Heaven. This is derived from Roman Catholic art and doctrine. There is no history at all of such an image arising from within the Orthodox Church, other than extremely rare examples in regions under very heavy western influence, such as Ukraine, Belarus, and those regions of Scandinavia and the Baltics where there was a Russian Orthodox presence, but where there was also a large or majority Roman Catholic population.

I might also note that the Virgin in this image only has one star of perpetual virginity on her omophorion, i.e. on her head, and none on her shoulders. Canonically, there should be three stars, one on her head, and one on each shoulder. The three stars denote that she was a virgin before the Incarnation, remained a virgin during her carrying of the unborn Christ, and remained a virgin after His birth. There are abundant references to this in the patristic literature, and in the theotokia and other hymns written for her feasts. The only exceptions to this are where one shoulder is obscured by the Christ-child she is holding, such as in icons of the type Kasperovskaya, Korsunskaya, Glykophyloussa, etc. The Coptic image, which shows the Virgin unobscured, does not have the stars on her shoulders.

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« Reply #97 on: June 07, 2008, 10:25:36 PM »

Um, seraphim, this image is not only an uncanonical version of the Trinity, ...
Against what canons--or should I say, against whose interpretation of the canons--is this icon measured to be uncanonical?

Quote
Canonically, there should be three stars, one on her head, and one on each shoulder.
What canons say this?

Quote
The three stars denote that she was a virgin before the Incarnation, remained a virgin during her carrying of the unborn Christ, and remained a virgin after His birth. There are abundant references to this in the patristic literature, and in the theotokia and other hymns written for her feasts. The only exceptions to this are where one shoulder is obscured by the Christ-child she is holding, such as in icons of the type Kasperovskaya, Korsunskaya, Glykophyloussa, etc. The Coptic image, which shows the Virgin unobscured, does not have the stars on her shoulders.
You like to throw the word "uncanonical" around as this applies to icons, but can you tell us exactly which canons these "uncanonical" icons violate?
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« Reply #98 on: June 08, 2008, 01:03:03 AM »

Heck after seeing that strange painting of Jesus and the bearded caucasion fella crowning Mary, I cant fault the muslims for thinking in the Koran that the Trinity is Father, Son and Virgin Mary.
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« Reply #99 on: June 20, 2008, 07:06:44 PM »

Icons of God the Father and God the Holy Ghost are incorrect and should not exist.
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« Reply #100 on: June 20, 2008, 07:42:10 PM »

Icons of God the Father and God the Holy Ghost are incorrect and should not exist.
Thank you for repeating what so many others have said before you.  Now, if you REALLY want to contribute something new, give us a reason no one else has given before for why icons of God the Father and God the Holy Ghost are incorrect. Wink
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« Reply #101 on: June 20, 2008, 07:53:36 PM »

Thank you for repeating what so many others have said before you.  Now, if you REALLY want to contribute something new, give us a reason no one else has given before for why icons of God the Father and God the Holy Ghost are incorrect. Wink

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« Reply #102 on: June 20, 2008, 10:03:32 PM »

In these modern times, embracing religious pluralism is the “norm” in any “politically-correct” discussion.  There are so many versions of “god” out there, and yet the TRINITY remains wholly unique and distinct among all other concepts of the divinity. 

It is for this reason I have always cherished icons that depict all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

Same here.  The irony is that many in these times refuse to accept the image of the single most important doctrine of the Church.  The fact remains that there are INDEED Three Persons, and the depiction of each person--namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit--in an icon helps us remember the Holy Trinity in a profound yet straightforward manner.  Such icons invite us to identify God, and one can't get any more Theological than that.

Quote
Granted, I’m not too fond of extremely western/Renaissance style icons.

I think that is more of our anti-Catholic tendencies clouding our judgment.  It could also be that we have not fully embraced all schools of Iconography.  We have to learn to accept that the Father has been represented in Orthodox Iconography in a myriad of ways--Western or otherwise--for many centuries now, and no amount of modern-day Theological mumbo jumbo that the others are saying can deny that TRADITION.
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« Reply #103 on: June 20, 2008, 10:09:54 PM »

Icons of God the Father and God the Holy Ghost are incorrect and should not exist.

Just curious.  These icons predate your very existence by hundreds of years.  Would you want these centuries-old icons destroyed?

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« Reply #104 on: June 20, 2008, 10:14:11 PM »

Heck after seeing that strange painting of Jesus and the bearded caucasion fella crowning Mary, I cant fault the muslims for thinking in the Koran that the Trinity is Father, Son and Virgin Mary.

Actually, there's a dove on top of the crown.
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« Reply #105 on: June 21, 2008, 02:05:03 AM »

Same here.  The irony is that many in these times refuse to accept the image of the single most important doctrine of the Church.  The fact remains that there are INDEED Three Persons, and the depiction of each person--namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit--in an icon helps us remember the Holy Trinity in a profound yet straightforward manner.  Such icons invite us to identify God, and one can't get any more Theological than that.

We have correct Icons of the All-Holy Trinity, just not the way some of those were depicted. Of course the most famous:



Just curious.  These icons predate your very existence by hundreds of years.  Would you want these centuries-old icons destroyed?

No of course not. I value history, I just merely do not think that they should continue to exist in new churches. Also I don't think that Veneration of them is proper because the show something that does not exist the way it is depicted. An Icon is meant to be correct, not just a product of artistic interpretation.
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« Reply #106 on: June 21, 2008, 11:48:13 AM »

We have correct Icons of the All-Holy Trinity, just not the way some of those were depicted. Of course the most famous:



No of course not. I value history, I just merely do not think that they should continue to exist in new churches. Also I don't think that Veneration of them is proper because the show something that does not exist the way it is depicted. An Icon is meant to be correct, not just a product of artistic interpretation.

I agree with the Catcher in the Rye here... Smiley
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« Reply #107 on: June 21, 2008, 01:25:44 PM »

I disagree, but I guess we can argue till the cows come home.
The main contemporary objector to the depiction of God the Father in Iconography is Dr. George S. Gabriel, author of "Mary, the Untrodden Portal of God". According to him, Rublev's Icon is not an even Icon of the Holy Trinity (see http://www.orlapubs.com/AR/R330.html). I think it's best if we just all agree to disagree.
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« Reply #108 on: June 21, 2008, 02:28:00 PM »

It is perhaps better that we do not put the Trinity in a recognizable iconographic form. The mystery of the Trinity is not something that is traditionally taught until much later in catechistas. Our icons are the really only understood in the context of the liturgy and the scripture. So when someone sees an Icon of the Hospitality of Abraham they are able to recognize it a a type of the Trinity only if they know the scripture, the liturgy and the writings of the fathers.

We can only depict the trinity in two ways then, as a type (as in the Hospitality of Abraham) or as has been manifested to us in scripture, such at the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan. Any other depiction is not an icon but rather just artwork since the image comes only from the mind of the artist and not from source.
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« Reply #109 on: June 21, 2008, 04:07:17 PM »

I agree with the Catcher in the Rye here... Smiley

Thank You

Rublev's Icon is not an even Icon of the Holy Trinity

Are you kidding?

It is perhaps better that we do not put the Trinity in a recognizable iconographic form. The mystery of the Trinity is not something that is traditionally taught until much later in catechistas. Our icons are the really only understood in the context of the liturgy and the scripture. So when someone sees an Icon of the Hospitality of Abraham they are able to recognize it a a type of the Trinity only if they know the scripture, the liturgy and the writings of the fathers.

We can only depict the trinity in two ways then, as a type (as in the Hospitality of Abraham) or as has been manifested to us in scripture, such at the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan. Any other depiction is not an icon but rather just artwork since the image comes only from the mind of the artist and not from source.

I agree with you 100%.
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« Reply #110 on: June 21, 2008, 05:16:20 PM »

It is perhaps better that we do not put the Trinity in a recognizable iconographic form. The mystery of the Trinity is not something that is traditionally taught until much later in catechistas. Our icons are the really only understood in the context of the liturgy and the scripture. So when someone sees an Icon of the Hospitality of Abraham they are able to recognize it a a type of the Trinity only if they know the scripture, the liturgy and the writings of the fathers.

We can only depict the trinity in two ways then, as a type (as in the Hospitality of Abraham) or as has been manifested to us in scripture, such at the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan. Any other depiction is not an icon but rather just artwork since the image comes only from the mind of the artist and not from source.

Ditto holdencaulfield.  Great post, this.
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« Reply #111 on: June 21, 2008, 08:03:21 PM »

Right exactly it's too bad however how many incorrect Icons have gotten in the Church. The Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow is an example of a beautiful cathedral that unfortunately has these types of Icons. They can't even be called Icons because they aren't images of something that is they are artistic interpretation of things that are not. At least we don't have as many as the OOC and the RCC.
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« Reply #112 on: June 21, 2008, 09:38:23 PM »

I think it's best if we just all agree to disagree.

...............ah, if only  Grin Cool
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« Reply #113 on: June 21, 2008, 10:52:49 PM »

Right exactly it's too bad however how many incorrect Icons have gotten in the Church. The Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow is an example of a beautiful cathedral that unfortunately has these types of Icons. They can't even be called Icons because they aren't images of something that is they are artistic interpretation of things that are not. At least we don't have as many as the OOC and the RCC.
But what have you to say about this quote from Fr. Seraphim Rose (quoting St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco):  "'I can pray in front of one kind of icon and I can pray in front of another kind of icon.'  The important thing is that we pray, not that we pride ourselves on having good icons."  (Hieromonk Damascene, Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, p. 307)
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« Reply #114 on: June 21, 2008, 11:21:20 PM »

That is true.
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« Reply #115 on: June 21, 2008, 11:35:40 PM »

We have correct Icons of the All-Holy Trinity, just not the way some of those were depicted. Of course the most famous

Andrei Rublev's version of the Hospitality of Abraham is a medieval innovation and there are some who do not like it due to the fact that, among MANY things, it fails to provide the complete picture of the Old Testament narrative.  Regardless, it is my favorite work of liturgical art as far as artistic expression is concerned.

Quote
I just merely do not think that they should continue to exist in new churches.

Should everything be Russian (yes, Rublev's "Trinity" is not even Greek)?  Why would we want to stop the Coptic, Serbian and Ethiopian iconographers from following their OWN tradition in building their OWN churches? 

Quote
Also I don't think that Veneration of them is proper because the show something that does not exist the way it is depicted.

The problem is that you might just very well be venerating the unidentified angels who visited Abraham when you kiss Rublev's icon.  There is no other way to put it because you will be falling into Augustinian "special effects" theophany if you think that one of the angels in the icon IS the Almighty Father himself.

On the other hand, you don't have this problem in icons where the image of the Ancient of Days is depicted alongside the images of the Son and the Holy Spirit.  In this case, the identity of the Father is certain to the faithful.

Quote
An Icon is meant to be correct, not just a product of artistic interpretation.

See my above comments and the link ozgeorge gave.  Rublev's Hospitality of Abraham is by itself an abstraction, i.e. an artistic interpretation--or should I say mutilation--of the OT narrative.  How can it be "correct" then?

But then again, let's just agree to disagree. Smiley
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« Reply #116 on: June 22, 2008, 01:41:03 AM »

Or maybe you just don't like it because it was written by a Russian? Wink
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« Reply #117 on: June 22, 2008, 01:48:24 AM »

Or maybe you just don't like it because it was written by a Russian? Wink
Huh  What's that got to do with why anyone would or would not like an icon?  Huh
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« Reply #118 on: June 22, 2008, 01:52:48 AM »

The problem is that you might just very well be venerating the unidentified angels who visited Abraham when you kiss Rublev's icon.  There is no other way to put it because you will be falling into Augustinian "special effects" theophany if you think that one of the angels in the icon IS the Almighty Father himself.

It's assumed that the Venerator would know what it was depicting and how. Rublev's Icon depicts a particular scene and thus can be only used in that circumstance. Same with Icons of the Baptism and the Pentecost.
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« Reply #119 on: June 22, 2008, 02:00:06 AM »

Huh  What's that got to do with why anyone would or would not like an icon?  Huh

I don't know, just an idle observation. My apologies to the posters

But I do find it rather odd that, now, all of a sudden, someone is telling me after so many years of venerating this Icon, that this whole time I may have 'just been venerating angels.'

Perhaps, now we're looking at Icons the wrong way?
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« Reply #120 on: June 22, 2008, 02:02:00 AM »

I don't know, just an idle observation. My apologies to the posters
No offense taken...  I just had no idea how to read your post in context.
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« Reply #121 on: June 22, 2008, 02:06:04 AM »

No offense taken...  I just had no idea how to read your post in context.

Your response is expected since I usually don't know what I'm talking about  Cheesy
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« Reply #122 on: June 22, 2008, 02:08:03 AM »

Your response is expected since I usually don't know what I'm talking about  Cheesy
LOL! laugh  At least you're willing to humble yourself enough to admit it.
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« Reply #123 on: June 22, 2008, 03:13:46 AM »

Perhaps, now we're looking at Icons the wrong way?

I agree. The Hospitality of Abraham is something that happened. It's a true event in a real point in history. It is just a good example for us to show our faith.
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« Reply #124 on: July 09, 2008, 09:04:45 AM »

So, where does the Ascension fit into all this?  Does anyone know of Patristic literature that specifically discusses what exactly was revealed to Mary and the Apostles at this event?  I mean, come on, they were looking up into heaven as humanity itself was seated on the throne of Divinity!  I've heard the Feast of the Ascension called the "most under-appreciated Feast" in all of Orthodoxy... and yet it contains so much!  True, it is between Pascha and Pentecost... so it is easy to overlook.

This is my particular question:
How did Mary and the Apostles see Christ seated "at the right hand of God [the Father]" (Mark 16:19)... if they couldn't in any way see the Father?
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« Reply #125 on: July 09, 2008, 02:00:16 PM »

So, where does the Ascension fit into all this?  Does anyone know of Patristic literature that specifically discusses what exactly was revealed to Mary and the Apostles at this event?  I mean, come on, they were looking up into heaven as humanity itself was seated on the throne of Divinity!

I hate to have to be the Protestant here, but this is not consistent with what scripture says. At least, it isn't consistent with the account in the Acts. I take it that this is a Patristic tale?
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« Reply #126 on: July 09, 2008, 05:11:34 PM »

I hate to have to be the Protestant here, but this is not consistent with what scripture says. At least, it isn't consistent with the account in the Acts. I take it that this is a Patristic tale?


Acts 1:9-10 "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel..."

Huh  Seems to me they were indeed "looking up into heaven as humanity itself was seated on the throne of Divinity."
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« Reply #127 on: August 14, 2008, 11:52:45 PM »

What the text does not say is that they saw him seated on the throne. It says instead that he disappeared into a cloud.
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« Reply #128 on: September 06, 2008, 03:15:41 PM »

St. John of Damascus specifically says that it is incorrect to make images of God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit.  police
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« Reply #129 on: September 06, 2008, 03:44:49 PM »

St. John of Damascus specifically says that it is incorrect to make images of God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit.  police
So what's your point in repeating exactly what LBK said in his Reply #58 on this thread?  Have you not been reading?
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« Reply #130 on: September 20, 2008, 01:24:50 AM »

Not trying to get off topic here, but I just got a wall crucifix in the mail today that I was really excited about, that is until I began to closely admire the piece.  This picture is kind of small to see what I am talking about, but Above the cross above the angels and the clouds there appears to be a depiction of God the Father.  I can't think of what else it could be:



I spent a good sum of money on it because the print is quite large, but now I am feeling as if I should return it to the skete it came from because it's inappropriate.  I think that I might always be distracted by the one problem with it rather than the many other beautiful things about it.  By the way, it comes from 18th Century Russia.

What do you all think I should do?  Return it?  Or perhaps someone is aware of something else it could be depicting...
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« Reply #131 on: September 20, 2008, 01:32:56 AM »

Not trying to get off topic here, but I just got a wall crucifix in the mail today that I was really excited about, that is until I began to closely admire the piece.  This picture is kind of small to see what I am talking about, but Above the cross above the angels and the clouds there appears to be a depiction of God the Father.  I can't think of what else it could be:



I spent a good sum of money on it because the print is quite large, but now I am feeling as if I should return it to the skete it came from because it's inappropriate.  I think that I might always be distracted by the one problem with it rather than the many other beautiful things about it.  By the way, it comes from 18th Century Russia.

What do you all think I should do?  Return it?  Or perhaps someone is aware of something else it could be depicting...

How about taking a picture of the part you're concerned about and posting it. I personally doubt it's an image of god the father, but can't be sure from that picture. Alternatively...are there any Greek leters surrounding the head of the image in question, that could also tell you quite a bit...unfortunately I can't read anything with the picture posted.
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« Reply #132 on: September 20, 2008, 01:38:29 AM »

You will find lengthy discussions about the depiction of God the Father in these threads:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=tags;id=2735
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« Reply #133 on: September 20, 2008, 01:55:49 AM »

How about taking a picture of the part you're concerned about and posting it. I personally doubt it's an image of god the father, but can't be sure from that picture. Alternatively...are there any Greek leters surrounding the head of the image in question, that could also tell you quite a bit...unfortunately I can't read anything with the picture posted.

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.
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« Reply #134 on: September 20, 2008, 02:01:14 AM »

Yep, that God the Father as The Ancient of Days.
The Holy Spirit is depicted as a Dove below Him.
Its beautiful btw.
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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.
Christ is Risen!

Dear Icondule,

/\ Please see messages 159 and 160 above for some answers.

Quote
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

"For we recognise one God: but only in the attributes of Fatherhood, Sonship, and Procession, both in respect of cause and effect and perfection of subsistence, that is, manner of existence, do we perceive difference." - 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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« Reply #180 on: January 04, 2011, 10:19:12 AM »

I thought God the Father was never depicted in hagiography:

Many commentaries on this icon say that this icon depicts only the three angels who visited Abraham, a physical, historical event that is fair game for iconography. However, for the instruction of the faithful, the angels represent the relationship between the Persons of the Holy Trinity. Thus this can be "The Icon of the Holy Trinity" without directly depicting the Persons of the Trinity.

Could the old man with a rod then be Moses or another OT prophet and not God the Father, as God the Father would not be depicted directly in Iconography? So the Trinity depicted is the God of the OT, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #181 on: January 04, 2011, 10:31:45 AM »

Thank you re replies 7 & 8 ^( pt in thread where I began this post). I just want to further add that although this does  not personally cause me to have a faith crisis, it seems too often ignorance of faith can gain stock in some instances & produces baggage that damages & obscures what should be Orthopraxis.
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« Reply #182 on: January 04, 2011, 04:55:16 PM »

"What does that triangle around the head of God the Father symbolize?"

Apparently, he's a "cheesehead" (a Green Bay Packers fan).

Icons depicting God the Father are quaint 19th century blasphemies. No one has ever seen God. God's "face"--were He to possess one--is that of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, no one knows what God looks like. He most certainly is not an old man with white hair, regardless of what Michelangelo may think. I'd find another favorite.
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« Reply #183 on: January 04, 2011, 04:57:44 PM »

"What does that triangle around the head of God the Father symbolize?"

Apparently, he's a "cheesehead" (a Green Bay Packers fan).

Icons depicting God the Father are quaint 19th century blasphemies. No one has ever seen God. God's "face"--were He to possess one--is that of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, no one knows what God looks like. He most certainly is not an old man with white hair, regardless of what Michelangelo may think. I'd find another favorite.

Further, no one can know anything about God except through Jesus Christ.
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« Reply #184 on: January 04, 2011, 09:11:27 PM »

When is anything in Orthodoxy cut and dry? Smiley

In its polemics!
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« Reply #185 on: January 04, 2011, 11:13:52 PM »

Could the old man with a rod then be Moses or another OT prophet and not God the Father, as God the Father would not be depicted directly in Iconography? So the Trinity depicted is the God of the OT, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Many would say that this is the "Ancient of Days" rather than the Father.  Certain icons allude to this in the abbreviations.  

While I personally feel a lot more comfortable with this explanation, I'm not sure it is what the iconographers intended.  Most people at the parish I attend, (which is named Holy Trinity), believe, even if erroneously, that the Father is depicted in the various icons of the Trinity. The priests are currently trying to explain this to catechumens and, probably more cautiously, to the parishioners.

This issue was discussed here http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15773.0.html

Edit to add: Fascinating Icon, Ortho_Cat.  I had seen it before but not stopped to examine it more closely.
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« Reply #186 on: January 04, 2011, 11:57:54 PM »

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

Portraying God the Father.   Saint Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain, one of the Church's great canonists and a renowned theologian.

"It follows that the Beginningless Father (pater anarkhikos) must be represented in icons as He appeared to the Prophet Daniel, as the Ancient of Days."
-----------------------------------------

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."


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« Reply #187 on: January 05, 2011, 12:10:29 AM »

Could the old man with a rod then be Moses or another OT prophet and not God the Father, as God the Father would not be depicted directly in Iconography? So the Trinity depicted is the God of the OT, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Many would say that this is the "Ancient of Days" rather than the Father.  This issue was discussed here

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 #188 on: January 05, 2011, 12:28:00 AM »

A subject of controversy  loved by inquirers, catechumens and recent converts . Roll Eyes
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« Reply #189 on: January 05, 2011, 12:37:39 AM »

I found the book below helpful:

Image of God the Father in Orthodox Theology and Iconography
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« Reply #190 on: January 05, 2011, 12:48:03 AM »

It would be difficult to say that Holy Trinity monastery at Jordanville is ignorant of the controversy about the Trinity icon --- 55 holy monks plus all the erudite seminary professors and seminarians.

And yet, there in the church, as its most revered patronal icon is the forbidden Trinity icon, kissed and venerated by pilgrims, kissed and venerated every day by the monks after Compline.

Ironically, the same monks in the bookstore who sell booklets which are anti this icon are also kissing it and prostrating before it every day!!

The photo below shows this icon on the right side of the church in its own free standing 'throne.'

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« Reply #191 on: January 05, 2011, 02:46:39 AM »

A subject of controversy  loved by inquirers, catechumens and recent converts . Roll Eyes

Tremendously insightful.  Roll Eyes How dare an inquirer, catechumen, or recent convert think this is an interesting subject.   I'll raise you a Roll Eyes
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« Reply #192 on: January 05, 2011, 03:01:31 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.

Thanks very much for this information. 
Not to spin off an already spun off topic, but I wonder why the newly ordained priest at the parish I attend is so adamant about referring to "the Ancient of Days" rather than "the Father"?  It seems that his MDiv program must have stressed a different side of the argument.  For what it's worth, the priest is not a convert, nor does his parish have many converts.
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« Reply #193 on: January 05, 2011, 08:49:04 AM »

It would be difficult to say that Holy Trinity monastery at Jordanville is ignorant of the controversy about the Trinity icon --- 55 holy monks plus all the erudite seminary professors and seminarians.

And yet, there in the church, as its most revered patronal icon is the forbidden Trinity icon, kissed and venerated by pilgrims, kissed and venerated every day by the monks after Compline.

Ironically, the same monks in the bookstore who sell booklets which are anti this icon are also kissing it and prostrating before it every day!!

The photo below shows this icon on the right side of the church in its own free standing 'throne.'


Thank you for this information father. I only knew of the controversy around the Trinity icon so it seemed logical (I know that this word & Orthodoxy are basically incompatible) that representing the Father would be understood to be a problem. I also remember a thread a couple of years ago here surrounding an unconventional, but righteous, icon of the Christ child and Theotokos appearing as Asian which created volumes of commentary.

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« Reply #194 on: January 05, 2011, 09:17:26 AM »

Not to spin off an already spun off topic, but I wonder why the newly ordained priest at the parish I attend is so adamant about referring to "the Ancient of Days" rather than "the Father"?  It seems that his MDiv program must have stressed a different side of the argument. 

If you use the Search Engine here to run a search for the posts of LBK you will turn up some well argued posts against the New Testament Trinity.  Use the keywords icon and father.
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« Reply #195 on: January 05, 2011, 09:56:49 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.

Thanks very much for this information. 
Not to spin off an already spun off topic, but I wonder why the newly ordained priest at the parish I attend is so adamant about referring to "the Ancient of Days" rather than "the Father"?  It seems that his MDiv program must have stressed a different side of the argument.  For what it's worth, the priest is not a convert, nor does his parish have many converts.

"In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." I suspect he has not changed this in you parish?
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« Reply #196 on: January 05, 2011, 10:23:21 AM »

I thought God the Father was never depicted in hagiography:
I don't know about hagiography, since that's a subject totally different from iconography. Hagiography has to do with the writing of the lives of the saints.
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« Reply #197 on: January 05, 2011, 11:21:55 AM »

This has probably been mentioned before but, how about the Kursk Root Icon? I had the priviledge to venerate this wonder working icon when it arrived at our parish recently. This icon depicts God the Father/Ancient of Days, yet it is a wonder working icon. Should this be seen as an exception, or normative?
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« Reply #198 on: January 05, 2011, 03:16:42 PM »

"In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." I suspect he has not changed this in you parish?

Of course not.  The idea that the Father can be depicted in iconography is clearly not universally accepted.  The priest is not anti-Trinitarian in any sense; he just does not believe that it is correct to depict the Father.  He approves showing the Ancient of Days, but believes there is a distinction between this and the Father.  You will see in some depictions of the Ancient of Days that it simply looks like an older version of Jesus; longer beard, gray hair, etc. but same facial features and sometimes bodily stance.  

I reread Daniel 7 and realize this is a very complicated topic.  However, it still seems that there is a great difference between the Ancient of Days revealing Himself to Daniel in a vision and Jesus walking amongst the people.    

ETA: PoorFoolNicholas, it's interesting you should bring up the Kursk Root Icon, as the same priest has spoken of its power and recommended that we venerate it.
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« Reply #199 on: January 05, 2011, 03:57:51 PM »

This has probably been mentioned before but, how about the Kursk Root Icon? I had the priviledge to venerate this wonder working icon when it arrived at our parish recently. This icon depicts God the Father/Ancient of Days, yet it is a wonder working icon. Should this be seen as an exception, or normative?

I also had the privilege of venerating this beautiful and wonder-working icon at my parish, and it does indeed have an icon of God the Father at the very top.

While those in favor of these types of depictions like to point this out as proof positive for the practice, the history that I have been aware of is that it is not part of the original wonder-working icon, but a later addition, along with many others. The original Kursk Root icon was simply the depiction of the Theotokos and the Christ-child. None of the other images are original to the icon, including the depiction of God the Father.

In spite of our mistakes, such as this addition, God still has mercy on us, as he does through the work of His Most Pure Mother by way of this icon.
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« Reply #200 on: January 05, 2011, 09:14:34 PM »

In spite of our mistakes, such as this addition, God still has mercy on us, as he does through the work of His Most Pure Mother by way of this icon.
Yes, thankfully God can bestow His grace in spite of our mistakes.  That said, for the Byzantines of old the Ancient of Days when depicted in icons, or in the liturgical prayers of the Church, is Christ, who at times is depicted polymorphically in a single icon as Pantokrator, Ancient of Days, and Immanuel, a practice that can be very confusing today because many people no longer understand how to read that type of icon correctly.
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« Reply #201 on: January 05, 2011, 09:49:14 PM »

"In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." I suspect he has not changed this in you parish?

Of course not.  The idea that the Father can be depicted in iconography is clearly not universally accepted.  The priest is not anti-Trinitarian in any sense; he just does not believe that it is correct to depict the Father.  He approves showing the Ancient of Days, but believes there is a distinction between this and the Father.  You will see in some depictions of the Ancient of Days that it simply looks like an older version of Jesus; longer beard, gray hair, etc. but same facial features and sometimes bodily stance.  

I reread Daniel 7 and realize this is a very complicated topic.  However, it still seems that there is a great difference between the Ancient of Days revealing Himself to Daniel in a vision and Jesus walking amongst the people.    

ETA: PoorFoolNicholas, it's interesting you should bring up the Kursk Root Icon, as the same priest has spoken of its power and recommended that we venerate it.

Thanks for the clarification, you hear about so much odd stuff these days, I just wanted to be sure.
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« Reply #202 on: January 09, 2011, 05:47:18 PM »

Found this. Got the trinity around the head. I think it's a beautiful icon though.

http://www.stsophia.org/photo/cathedral/
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« Reply #203 on: January 09, 2011, 05:56:20 PM »


While I have no problem with depicting God the Father in icons I thought that depicting Christ as a lamb is explicitly forbidded by Trullo.


Quote from: The Church
Canon 82

In some pictures of the venerable icons, a lamb is painted to which the Precursor points his finger, which is received as a type of grace, indicating beforehand through the Law, our true Lamb, Christ our God. Embracing therefore the ancient types and shadows as symbols of the truth, and patterns given to the Church, we prefer "grace and truth," receiving it as the fulfilment of the Law. In order therefore that "that which is perfect" may be delineated to the eyes of all, at least in coloured expression, we decree that the figure in human form of the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world, Christ our God, be henceforth exhibited in images, instead of the ancient lamb, so that all may understand by means of it the depths of the humiliation of the Word of God, and that we may recall to our memory his conversation in the flesh, his passion and salutary death, and his redemption which was wrought for the whole world.
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« Reply #204 on: January 09, 2011, 06:01:40 PM »

Very interesting, wonder how they would react to that?

That's a gorgeous cathedral btw
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« Reply #205 on: January 09, 2011, 07:09:11 PM »

My question is this: these icons continue to be written, in cathedrals, churches etc. You can even find them in icon shops online. Some of these icon shops are run by monks that I am sure are aware of the canons that relate to iconography. As well the bishops that see these icons when they are at these cathedrals and churches. What's the deal? Are they all ignorant, or are they ignoring the canons? Or as I suspect, is there another possible interpretation of the canons?
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« Reply #206 on: January 09, 2011, 09:05:42 PM »

TAOD is ICXC
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« Reply #207 on: January 09, 2011, 09:34:42 PM »

From memory, any liturgical references to the Ancient of Days, particularly plentiful in the vigil for the Nativity of the Lord, refer to Christ, not God the Father.

"Lives of the Holy Prophets" tells me that "While a small number believe that the Ancient of Days is God the Father, avoiding the incontrovertible evidence of Jesus Himself that 'no one hath seen the Father [cf. Jn. 6:46]"-- not even wise Daniel-- the overwhelming consensus of the holy Fathers is that He is Christ, the Son of Man.

The following statements by the Fathers are included, which urge the identity of the Ancient of Days with the Son of Man, and thus with Christ:

St. Ammonios: "(Daniel) prophesied the taking on of flesh of the Only-begotten, naming Him Son of Man Who is to be the Son of the holy Mary and become Man."

St. Irenaeos: "The Ancient of Days... seen by Daniel, received humanity."

St. Kyril of Jerusalem: "The Ancient of Days became a child."

St. Methodios of Olympos: "The righteous Symeon received in his elder's arms of embrace the Ancient of Days as an infant."

Seems like a pretty firm consensus.

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« Reply #208 on: January 09, 2011, 09:51:25 PM »

TAOD is ICXC

Messages 186 and 187
show otherwise.  The Ancient of Days can be any one of the Three Persons of the Trinity.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10122.msg515769.html#msg515769
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« Reply #209 on: January 09, 2011, 10:02:30 PM »


While I have no problem with depicting God the Father in icons I thought that depicting Christ as a lamb is explicitly forbidded by Trullo.
Quote
The Quinisext Council was convened in 692 by Justinian II in Constantinople. It is often referred to as the Council in Trullo because the sessions were held in the same domed room where the Sixth Council was conducted. Both the Fifth and the Sixth Councils had adjourned without drawing up disciplinary canons. The 692 council was convened with the intention to complete the work of the earlier councils in this respect, and it was from this aspect that it took the name Quinisext, i.e. Fifth-Sixth Council. (Latin:Concilium Quinisextum, Koine Greek:Penthekte Synodos).
Two hundred and eleven bishops attended the council, all from the Eastern Roman Empire. Basil of Gortyna in Illyria/Crete, however, belonged to the Church of Rome and claimed that he represented the Roman Church, though no evidence exists of his right to make this claim. In fact, Pope Sergius of Rome refused to sign the canons, citing them as “lacking authority”, when they were sent to him for signature. The Western Church never recognized the 102 disciplinary canons of this council, although later statements by some of the bishops of Rome, notably Popes Constantine and Hadrian I, seem to show an acceptance that could be summed up as expressed by Pope John VIII: that he accepted all those canons which did not contradict the true faith, good morals, and decrees of Rome. The Orthodox Churches consider this council as ecumenical and adds its canons to the decrees of the Fifth and Sixth Councils.

Many of the canons were reiterations of previously passed canons. However, most of the new canons exhibited an inimical attitude towards churches not in disciplinary accord with Constantinople, especially the Western Churches. Their customs are anathematized and "every little detail of difference is remembered to be condemned" (Fortescue).

Among the practices of the Western Church thus condemned were the practice of celebrating liturgies on weekdays in Lent (rather than having pre-sanctified liturgies); of fasting on certain Saturdays during the year; of omitting the "Alleluia" in Lent; of depicting Christ as a lamb; and the discipline of celibacy for all bishops, priests and deacons. This last merits further elaboration: not content merely to condemn the discipline of celibacy in the case of priests and deacons, the Council declared that anyone who tries to separate a priest or deacon from his wife is to be excommunicated. Likewise any cleric who leaves his wife because he is ordained is also to be excommunicated.
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Quinisext_Council
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« Reply #210 on: January 10, 2011, 05:46:56 AM »


Even though a case may be made that the Council was biased against the West it doesn't really matter since it's considered authoritative within the EO Church and I was commenting an EO icon within an EO cathedral.
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« Reply #211 on: January 10, 2011, 05:52:20 AM »

Even though a case may be made that the Council was biased against the West it doesn't really matter since it's considered authoritative within the EO Church and I was commenting an EO icon within an EO cathedral.

It is intriguing that this is a canon which has never been received by the Church and this icon is common throughout all the Orthodox Churches in every century.
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« Reply #212 on: January 10, 2011, 06:50:17 AM »

^Well that's an interesting point, Father. I've never before seen Christ depicted as a lamb in our iconography but then again I'm rather new to Orthodoxy. I don't know much about application of canons so maybe I shouldn't say much about this. I guess this wouldn't be the first canon which has become moot.
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« Reply #213 on: January 10, 2011, 07:03:31 AM »

I guess this wouldn't be the first canon which is basically just ignored.

Canon 15 of the First Ecumenical Council (and it's reiteration in Canon 21 of the Council of Antioch in 341) would seem to fall into that category.
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« Reply #214 on: January 10, 2011, 08:11:50 AM »

^Well that's an interesting point, Father. I've never before seen Christ depicted as a lamb in our iconography but then again I'm rather new to Orthodoxy. I don't know much about application of canons so maybe I shouldn't say much about this. I guess this wouldn't be the first canon which has become moot.

Apologies.  I was not thinking of the Lamb but of God the Father.
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« Reply #215 on: January 10, 2011, 10:24:24 AM »

The quality of the photo is not very good, but you can till distinguish Christ represented as a lamb on the ceiling of this church, at the center of the photography: http://lh3.ggpht.com/_h3S8vqr-Lvw/Snbh8dcHm2I/AAAAAAAACIk/EfAqIpXcrKI/DSCN0079.JPG
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« Reply #216 on: January 10, 2011, 07:08:50 PM »

augustin where is that Church?
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« Reply #217 on: January 10, 2011, 07:37:26 PM »

augus