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Author Topic: Identification of the Persons in the Ethiopian Trinity Icon  (Read 9179 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: February 02, 2010, 05:05:27 AM »

The MP of all people should know the canons if you really think they're binding.  But if the MP has it, I don't see how you saying they're uncanonical is legitimate.

It would be a pretty big understatement to say that patriarchs make mistakes sometimes.

This isn't exactly a matter of dispute- the council of 1666 very explicitly ruled against this kind of "Icon of the Trinity." There are also patristic witnesses against a depiction of the Father. As for such depictions being "symbolic"- such an understanding would undermine the incarnational theology that supports icons, namely, that God became man and therefore becomes visible and depictable. Icons therefore are not "symbolic" in this way, insofar as they are depictions of God as he actually appeared, or as he is actually reflected in his Saints.  

The three men appearing to Abraham are considered to be a representation of the Trinity, but not actual incarnations of the Persons. That's why St. Andrei Rublev's Trinity icon are acceptable.

In 1666, they condemned the use of the Father depicted like an old man, but Andrei Rublev's depiction of the Father as an angel is okay?  I don't think people who paint the Father as an old man are saying the Father was incarnate as an old man, just as people who depict the Father as angel are not saying that the Father was incarnate as an angel.

Perhaps, in 1666, people believed the Father to be an old man.  Maybe that's why they condemned it.  I would condemn even Andrei Rublev's icon if I find people believing that the Trinity are really three angels.  But when there's a few smart people who understand the allegory or the Scriptural reference, and not the literal understanding, I don't see the issue.

Mina, does your church recognise the authority of the Quinisext and Seventh Ecumenical Councils?
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« Reply #46 on: February 02, 2010, 11:16:33 AM »

he only canonical image of the Trinity is the one written by St. Andrei Rublev.

So says a local Russian synod.

Really?  Then why does the MP's Moscow Cathedral have this:

http://www.xxc.ru/english/foto/inside/s02/f007.htm
http://www.xxc.ru/english/foto/recon/s10/f001.htm

That's quite a haircut God the Father has...

No kidding!  It looks like He went to the same hairdresser that Phil Spector had at his trial:

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« Reply #47 on: February 02, 2010, 12:42:24 PM »

The MP of all people should know the canons if you really think they're binding.  But if the MP has it, I don't see how you saying they're uncanonical is legitimate.

It would be a pretty big understatement to say that patriarchs make mistakes sometimes.

This isn't exactly a matter of dispute- the council of 1666 very explicitly ruled against this kind of "Icon of the Trinity." There are also patristic witnesses against a depiction of the Father. As for such depictions being "symbolic"- such an understanding would undermine the incarnational theology that supports icons, namely, that God became man and therefore becomes visible and depictable. Icons therefore are not "symbolic" in this way, insofar as they are depictions of God as he actually appeared, or as he is actually reflected in his Saints.  

The three men appearing to Abraham are considered to be a representation of the Trinity, but not actual incarnations of the Persons. That's why St. Andrei Rublev's Trinity icon are acceptable.

In 1666, they condemned the use of the Father depicted like an old man, but Andrei Rublev's depiction of the Father as an angel is okay?  I don't think people who paint the Father as an old man are saying the Father was incarnate as an old man, just as people who depict the Father as angel are not saying that the Father was incarnate as an angel.

Perhaps, in 1666, people believed the Father to be an old man.  Maybe that's why they condemned it.  I would condemn even Andrei Rublev's icon if I find people believing that the Trinity are really three angels.  But when there's a few smart people who understand the allegory or the Scriptural reference, and not the literal understanding, I don't see the issue.

Mina, does your church recognise the authority of the Quinisext and Seventh Ecumenical Councils?

That has nothing to do with the discussion.  I'm just trying to understand the logic behind the rejection of an icon in your church.

But to answer your question, of course not.  We only recognize the first three ecumenical councils.  You should know this.  At the same time, my church does venerate icons and would consider iconoclasm a heresy as well.
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« Reply #48 on: February 02, 2010, 06:36:11 PM »

In 1666, they condemned the use of the Father depicted like an old man, but Andrei Rublev's depiction of the Father as an angel is okay?  

The Hospitality of Abraham icon is based on an actual biblical event, where "three men" appeared to Abraham. Whence comes the image of God the Father as an old man? If anywhere, it's a misinterpretation of the Prophet Daniel's Ancient of Days.

The three men in Genesis are in fact angels, who represented the Trinity but were not actually the Trinity. Therefore, it's nonsense to say that God the Father is depicted as an angel here.

Quote
But when there's a few smart people who understand the allegory or the Scriptural reference, and not the literal understanding, I don't see the issue.

Once again, the Orthodox understanding of iconography, as expounded by the 7th Ecumenical Council and Fathers such as John of Damascus and Theodore the Studite, is founded on the incarnation. The incarnation is not an allegory, and while it is not wrong to depict allegories in general, it is wrong to depict the God who cannot be depicted. Nowhere in the Scriptures does God the Father appear as an old man. He has never appeared to us in a circumscribable form.

As an aside, the grammar Nazi in me must protest against the use of "there's" to mean "there are". This is a common error nowadays which is quite irksome.
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« Reply #49 on: February 02, 2010, 09:03:14 PM »

I don't see how we EO can invoke the 7th Ecumenical Council in this case on a Church that recognizes only the first three as universally authoritative. There were many, many years between the 3rd and the 7th, and the different OO iconographical traditions took on a life of their own, separate from ours, that I don't think the EO aren't in a position to speak to (unless they share the tradition, but I can't think of a case like that; the Copts seem more Arabic than the Greek Alexandrian Patriarchate).

A question though: was the reasoning of the 7th Ecumenical Council invoked by the actual council that condemned the icons of God the Father? Is the entire Church suppose to subject themselves to this council (rather than just some of the laity agreeing with the reasoning)?
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« Reply #50 on: February 03, 2010, 01:46:20 PM »

In 1666, they condemned the use of the Father depicted like an old man, but Andrei Rublev's depiction of the Father as an angel is okay?  

The Hospitality of Abraham icon is based on an actual biblical event, where "three men" appeared to Abraham. Whence comes the image of God the Father as an old man? If anywhere, it's a misinterpretation of the Prophet Daniel's Ancient of Days.

The three men in Genesis are in fact angels, who represented the Trinity but were not actually the Trinity. Therefore, it's nonsense to say that God the Father is depicted as an angel here.

I only understand two interpretations of the story of Abraham's hospitality.  One interpretation was the Logos accompanied by two angels.  The other interpretation was the three persons of the Trinity itself.  Both of which I'm sure the Church fathers figured it was some sort of docetic form, and not real tangible flesh of those who appeared before Abraham.  Either case, I don't think the church fathers mentioned them as three angels who came to send a message to Abraham, and that the three angels represented the Trinity.  They were energies of the very Trinity appearing to Abraham.  This was my understanding.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.

If I'm right though, then you can't say these are three angels that represent the Trinity for tradition's sake.


Quote
Quote
But when there's a few smart people who understand the allegory or the Scriptural reference, and not the literal understanding, I don't see the issue.

Once again, the Orthodox understanding of iconography, as expounded by the 7th Ecumenical Council and Fathers such as John of Damascus and Theodore the Studite, is founded on the incarnation. The incarnation is not an allegory, and while it is not wrong to depict allegories in general, it is wrong to depict the God who cannot be depicted. Nowhere in the Scriptures does God the Father appear as an old man. He has never appeared to us in a circumscribable form.

As an aside, the grammar Nazi in me must protest against the use of "there's" to mean "there are". This is a common error nowadays which is quite irksome.

I haven't read John of Damascus or Theodore the Studite, but from what I understand from the Quintisext and Nicean Councils, they didn't really specify on condemnation of certain types of icons, but stressed icons to be venerated (and perhaps a more Christocentric iconography, but that doesn't mean they condemned other types).  Indeed, the only council clear enough that does condemn the use of old-man Father is the 1666 Council of Moscow, which makes me wonder how authoritative this council is if even the MP doesn't follow it.

Forgive me for the grammar mistakes.  My sister would also not be very happy with them either.  I think I should start calling her the grammar Nazi.  Smiley

God bless.
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« Reply #51 on: February 03, 2010, 05:26:28 PM »

If you go to books.google and search for...

The Rublev Trinity: the icon of the Trinity by the monk-painter Andrei Rublev
By Gabriel Bunge, Saint Andreĭ Rublev

Chapter Three deals with the theological interpretations and looks interesting. Haven't had a chance to read it yet.

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« Reply #52 on: February 03, 2010, 08:35:05 PM »

St. Justin Martyr:
“Moses, therefore, that blessed and faithful servant of God, declares that the one who was seen by Abraham at the oak of Mamre was God, accompanied by two angels, who were sent, for the condemnation of Sodom, by another, namely by the One who always remains above the heavens, who has never been seen by any human being, and who of himself holds converse with none, whom we term the Creator of all things, and the Father”. [Dial. 56]

Severian of Gabbala
“Christ appeared to you, O excellent one, escorted by two angels, and by your hospitality you became a companion of God and of angels… Christ appeared to you in the appearance of a man, revealing to you the mysteries of his divine and saving sojourn on earth… Therefore you recognised God's mediator, the Son who was to be known between two living beings or animals”. [PG 56:546]

Origen
“Notice first that with the two angels the Lord was present to Abraham, but it was only the two Angels who came to Lot” [PG 12:184]
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« Reply #53 on: February 05, 2010, 08:54:13 AM »

Whether the “ancient of days” is God the Father or the Son, it doesn’t make any difference when it comes to the Icon of the Holy Trinity in question, because it has depicted them all as ancient of days. What One of Them is, in this case, Three of Them are!!!  Mystery of the Holy Trinity.
 
Yet, there are patristic writings that make clear that the “Ancient of days” is specifically God the Father. Aba Giorgis of Gasicha writes: “…Daniel said… and the Son of man came to the Ancient of days and was given Him kingdom and an everlasting dominion. … He said the Son of man came to the Ancient of days (Whose age is infinite) indicating the second coming of God the Son and sitting at the right hand side of His Father to judge. …” [In: Book of mystery; Amharic version, Book ONE, Ch. 11]. I have also read that St. Cyril of Alexandria have given the meaning of “he came unto the ancient of days” of Daniel 7 as the Son ascending to the throne of His eternal Father and given honor and worship. 

It is true that no man has seen God as He is in His Essence. Icons, therefore, can not depict Him as He is in His Essence. But I believe that the visions and similitudes of the prophets were instances of His condescension that can be depicted in Icons. Therefore, we depict God the Father in our ancient and modern Icons of Theophany, Epiphany, and Trinity.

Regards,

Hiywot
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« Reply #54 on: February 26, 2013, 09:41:06 PM »

Hi...forgive the resurrected thread...I just have a question for my Ethiopian friends.  Do you happen to know what the earliest iconographic depiction of the Trinity is, and how old?
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« Reply #55 on: March 02, 2013, 01:53:37 PM »

Hi...forgive the resurrected thread...I just have a question for my Ethiopian friends.  Do you happen to know what the earliest iconographic depiction of the Trinity is, and how old?

Mina, very interesting question, I at the moment have no answer for, but I will be digging, if you get an answer please let me know. 
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« Reply #56 on: March 02, 2013, 02:22:14 PM »

Hi...forgive the resurrected thread...I just have a question for my Ethiopian friends.  Do you happen to know what the earliest iconographic depiction of the Trinity is, and how old?

Mina, very interesting question, I at the moment have no answer for, but I will be digging, if you get an answer please let me know. 

Thank you!

Perhaps, also, another question would be if there's also evidence of very ancient iconography in Ethiopia as well.  It seems to me when I search for Ethiopian icons, I only get late medieval icons to the present.
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Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
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