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Author Topic: How do you pick an icon of a Saint?  (Read 1630 times) Average Rating: 0
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Irenaeus07
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« on: March 05, 2008, 12:36:10 PM »

There are literally hundreds of different Saints.  How do you decide which Saint icon is good for you?

I was thinking of picking St Theophan The Recluse, because I have three of his books. Is that a valid reason?

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Sophie
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2008, 02:07:18 PM »

Hi Irenaus. You do not decide that a particular saint´s ICON is good for you. It is the SAINT not the ICON that is good for you, and any saint, for that matter, is good for you. Therefore, your choice of a saint´s icon can be based on different criteria or reasons every time. You could feel spiritually inspired by just looking at a particular saint´s icon, or what inspires you may be a certain saint´s life, or martyrdom or you may choose the icon of your patron saint or of the saint venerated on your birthday to name just a few criteria for picking an icon. Now if you have three books of St Theophan the Recluse, I gather it could be because you have found his writings enlightening or helpful so to pick an icon that depicts him is as valid a reason as it could be. His icon will be a reminder to you of the enlightment and help you found in his writings and you may well be encouraged in your prayers to seek his intercession to God on your behalf. I think, that one gets to pick the icons of saints one feels more familiar with or the ones that depict saints one would like to get to know more about, in the same way we do with photos of people around us.

Because, in the end, one could very well ask: Out of books written by and about hundreds or thousands of saints, how do you decide which book is good for you and how, for that matter, have you ended up with three books by St Theophan the Recluse? Smiley Wink
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Elisha
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2008, 02:19:11 PM »

There are literally hundreds of different Saints.  How do you decide which Saint icon is good for you?

I was thinking of picking St Theophan The Recluse, because I have three of his books. Is that a valid reason?



Icon?  How about one you like.  It is the saint that matters.  Also, one that somebody gives you is also always the "right one" (as in don't refuse gifts).
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GabrieltheCelt
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2008, 12:04:02 AM »

Hey Irenaeus,

I echo 100% what the others have said.  Is there a particular saint (or saints) that you have an affection towards?  Read up on their lives and if they've written any material, try to read it. 

In Christ,

Gabriel
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Irenaeus07
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2008, 12:52:05 AM »

Hey Irenaeus,

I echo 100% what the others have said.  Is there a particular saint (or saints) that you have an affection towards?  Read up on their lives and if they've written any material, try to read it. 

In Christ,

Gabriel

St Theophan The Recluse is the only Saint, that I thought of getting an icon for, merely based on his works. I want to read his bio before I decide to get it.  So Lord Willings, I'll do that and then decide. I like St Mark the Ascetic, but don't have an inclination to get his icon.

While at the same time, there is something telling me, that I should hold off on the saints for now.  I already have four icons, Resurrection (my first icon - it was the only one of Christ available when I bought it), then Christ the Teacher.  And then I got a two set of Mary, and Christ Blessing.

Fr Maxious from Mountain of Silence, his words encouraged me to make an icon corner.

Marina asked, "How can we who live in the world create an environment that is conductive to spiritual development?" "It is difficult to create such environments."

Fr Maxious answered, "Elder Paisios used to advise both monks and pilgrims: 'Make the space where you live conductive to your spiritual development, regardless of whether you are in a monastery or in the middle of the city.' Have a corner in your house where you gather spiritually charged objects like icons and have a lit candle or lamp in from of them.  You will notice that the entire space in your house will be transformed.  You will experience a sense of comfort in your immediate environment.  And, believe it ot not, you will notice that spiritual objects like icons will have an impact on the people who live in that house." (Gifts of the Desert pg 124)
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GabrieltheCelt
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2008, 01:11:07 AM »

St Theophan The Recluse is the only Saint, that I thought of getting an icon for, merely based on his works. I want to read his bio before I decide to get it.  So Lord Willings, I'll do that and then decide. I like St Mark the Ascetic, but don't have an inclination to get his icon.

While at the same time, there is something telling me, that I should hold off on the saints for now.  I already have four icons, Resurrection (my first icon - it was the only one of Christ available when I bought it), then Christ the Teacher.  And then I got a two set of Mary, and Christ Blessing.

Fr Maxious from Mountain of Silence, his words encouraged me to make an icon corner.

Marina asked, "How can we who live in the world create an environment that is conductive to spiritual development?" "It is difficult to create such environments."

Fr Maxious answered, "Elder Paisios used to advise both monks and pilgrims: 'Make the space where you live conductive to your spiritual development, regardless of whether you are in a monastery or in the middle of the city.' Have a corner in your house where you gather spiritually charged objects like icons and have a lit candle or lamp in from of them.  You will notice that the entire space in your house will be transformed.  You will experience a sense of comfort in your immediate environment.  And, believe it ot not, you will notice that spiritual objects like icons will have an impact on the people who live in that house." (Gifts of the Desert pg 124)
Wonderful book, esp for beginners.  Had I known of St Theophan, I would have chosen him as my patron saint as I really feel a genuine affection towards him.  Plus, he has some awesome teachings that have been put in book form; I'm thinking specifically of The Path of Salvation which I'll be reading this Great Lenten season.  If you're looking for an icon, well, you can never have too many icons.  Try to keep your choices narrowed down to those that 'speak' to you, but be open.  If you see an icon that catches your eye, try to find out all about it if you can; who wrote it and when, and learn what you can of the saint.  Again, though, take your time and enjoy the process as much as the final outcome of your search for a patron saint.
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Irenaeus07
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2008, 01:19:00 AM »

The Path of Salvation which I'll be reading this Great Lenten season. 

This is an awesome book, I have that book in front of me, as I am typing this.  St Theophan the Recluse, is awesome.  Some of his writing are complied in the Art of Prayer (An Orthodox Anthology) complied by Igumen Chariton of Valamo with an intro by Timothy Ware. And my favorite quote from St THeophan the Recluse is in the Art of Prayer.

The essence of Christian Life

People concern themselves with Christian upbringing but leave it incomplete: they neglect the most essential and most difficult side of Christian life, and dwell on what is easiest, the visible and external.

This imperfect or misdirected upbrining produces people who observe with the utmost correctness all the formal and outward rules of devout conduct, but pay little or no attention to the inward movements of the heart and to true improvement of the inner spiritual life.  They are strangers to mortal sins, but they do not heed the play of thoughts in the heart.  Accordingly they sometimes pass judgements, give way to boastfulness or pride, sometimes get angry (as if this feeling were justified by the rightness of their cause), are sometimes distracted by beauty and pleasure, sometimes even offend others in fits of irritation, are sometimes too lazy to pray, or lose themselves in useless thoughts while at prayer.  They are not upset about doing these thinbgs, but regard them as without significance.  They have been to church, or prayed at home according to the established rule, and carried out their usual business, and so they are quite content and at peace.  But they have little concern for what is happening in the heart.  In the meatime it maybe forging evil, thereby taking away the whole value of their correct and pious life.

Let us now take the vase of one who has been falling somewhat short in the work of salvation; he becomes aware of this incompleteless, and sees the incorrectness of his way of life and the instablility of his efforts.  And so he turns from outward to inward piety.  He is led into this either by reading books about spiritual life, or by talking with those who know what the essence of Christian life is, or by dissatisfaction with his own efforts, by a certain intuition that something is lacking, and that all is not going as it should.

Despite all his correctness he has no inner peace; he lacks what was promised to true Christians, 'peace and joy in the Holy Spirit' (Rom. xiv. 17). Once this troubling thought is born in him, then by talking with people who have knowledge he will come to realize what the matter is, or he may read about it in a book.  Either of these things will enable him to see the essential defect in the order of his life, namely his lack of attention to the movements within himself, and his lack of self-mastery.

He understands then that the essence of the Christian life consists in establisihng himself with the mind in the heart before God, in the Lord Jesus Christ, by the grace of the Holy Spirit: in this way he is enabled to control all inward movements and all outward actions, so as to transform everything in himself, whether great or small, into the service of God the Trinity, consciously and freely offering himself wholly to God." (The Art of Prayer)
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