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Author Topic: Icons and Setting Up a Prayer Corner  (Read 2527 times) Average Rating: 0
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Irenaeus07
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« on: February 11, 2008, 04:57:52 PM »

Greetings, my brothers and sisters,

So i was reading the book, Gifts of the Deserts by Kyriacos C. Markides, the author who works has really inspired me to study Orthodox Christianity.  Father Maxious mentioned in the book, the Importance of having a prayer corner. 

Well I have several questions?

1.) What is the origin of the icons?  Did it start with the disciples of Jesus or those who came after him? 


2.) Is there is good book that you would recommend that I can use to set up a prayer corner?  Which would give instruction on the proper rituals for venerating them?

3.) Or is there a good inexpensive place to buy icons???  And which icons would one recommend for a beginnger???
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2008, 05:19:07 PM »

3.) Or is there a good inexpensive place to buy icons???  And which icons would one recommend for a beginnger???

I'll let someone else touch on your first two questions, but as for this one, many parishes have a small bookstore that sells icons among other items.  That's a good place to start.  If that option's not available or you can't find the one you're looking for, try www.skete.com.  It's a monastery in Wisconsin that makes mounted icons; they're actually the main supplier for my parish's bookstore.  If you want very nice ones, you can commission someone to write them for you or do them yourself after you learn how, but the mounted ones are fine for starting out.

As for what to put there, you can never go wrong with the Lord and the Theotokos first.  From there, perhaps your patron saint and any other saints you have a special reverence for.  Others may simply strike you as needing to be there, even if you don't know why.  I was visiting a monastery once and in their small store saw an icon I had to have, though I didn't know why.  I went ahead and bought it, not knowing who it was, to later find out it was a martyr, for whom I have a strange affinity (maybe because my patron was a martyr).  Sometimes you don't choose the icon; it chooses you!  I also keep my bible and prayer book on a shelf by my corner and some people keep vigil lamps and censers there, as well.
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pensateomnia
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2008, 05:40:41 PM »

1.) What is the origin of the icons?  Did it start with the disciples of Jesus or those who came after him?

The Christian practice of depicting and venerating (or kissing) Icons is thoroughly Biblical, and it comes to us from the Jews through the earliest Christians. In fact, it's part of the earliest stipulations from God for Israel's worship. For more on this, check out this well known FAQ about Icons: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/general/icon_faq.aspx

More importantly, the Christian use of Icons is a definitive expression of an essential Truth about the Son of God's Incarnation: Because Jesus Christ truly became part of this material world, we depict Him with material things. Every time we make, see or venerate an Icon, we are testifying to that Truth. And because God the Father created material things as good, and even united Himself though His Son to material things in His Incarnation, God can and does work miracles through material means. That's one of the beautiful realities of God's ultimate plan of salvation. As the Book of Revelation says, the Lamb will bring about a New Heaven and a New Earth. That means that Christ's healing power extends even to our physical self, and the very world is being remade through God's grace -- it is being sanctified & purified. The healing miracles associated with Icons (or prayer, or anointing) are one sign of how that ultimate plan is being brought about through God's Holy Spirit even today, in our very presence.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2008, 05:40:50 PM by pensateomnia » Logged

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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2008, 06:06:45 PM »

An earlier thread on this subject, together with photo displays, that might give you some good ideas for setting up a prayer corner:

Prayer Corner Suggestions
« Last Edit: February 11, 2008, 06:08:23 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
Irenaeus07
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2008, 06:56:42 PM »

Thanks, what do you think about Praying With Icons by Jim Forest?  Would any of you recommend this book? Or is there a better book out there on how to pray with the icons?
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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2008, 09:24:16 PM »

Others may simply strike you as needing to be there, even if you don't know why.  I was visiting a monastery once and in their small store saw an icon I had to have, though I didn't know why.  I went ahead and bought it, not knowing who it was, to later find out it was a martyr, for whom I have a strange affinity (maybe because my patron was a martyr).  Sometimes you don't choose the icon; it chooses you!

The same thing has happened to me. I was struck by a life-size icon on our church's iconostasis of an old man with a VERY long beard. I'm not sure why, and I still don't know who it is, but I said a brief prayer to him the first time I ever did a reading. Now I say one before I chant each Sunday. I guess it's just the way things work out.
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