Author Topic: εικωνογραφία- iconography  (Read 2919 times)

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Offline theotokos

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εικωνογραφία- iconography
« on: June 04, 2009, 02:37:21 AM »
Hello People!
What I wonder is: is iconography to attribute a partner to (God)? Many christians think that way, especially Lutherans and Protestans, they also say that praying for saints and theotokos is to attribute a partner to God. What do you guys think? I'm really confused. I'm Christian and I want to convert to Orthodox. Is iconography mentioned in the Holy Bible? Or is it a tradition from the pagan Roman and Byzantine religion? ???

Thanks in advance. ;)

ἡ ἀγάπη ἀνυπόκριτος. ἀποστυγοῦντες τὸ πονηρόν, κολλώμενοι τῶ ἀγαθῶ·

Offline Michał

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2009, 06:10:40 AM »
What I wonder is: is iconography to attribute a partner to (God)?

Icons are windows through which we can see God, saints and angels. They are not beings on their own.

Many christians think that way, especially Lutherans and Protestans, they also say that praying for saints and theotokos is to attribute a partner to God.

Well, they are partners of God. God want us all to be His partners ("Peter said to Him, 'You shall never wash my feet!' Jesus answered him, 'If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me'", J 13:8 ).

Is iconography mentioned in the Holy Bible?

In a sense it is:
"For a man indeed ought not to cover [his] head, since he is the image (εικων) and glory of God. . ." (1Cor 11:7).
". . .the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image (εικων) of God, should shine on them" (2Cor 4:4).
"He is the image (εικων) of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation" (Col 1:15).
"So God created man in His [own] image (εικονα); in the image (εικονα) of God He created him; male and female He created them" (Gen 1:27).

Or is it a tradition from the pagan Roman and Byzantine religion? ???

It is a tradition from the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2009, 06:13:56 AM by Michał »

Offline theotokos

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2009, 06:15:12 AM »
Thank you very much, some protestants tell me that I'm serving for satan by that.
How about the ones below?
And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
καὶ ἐμοσχοποίησαν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις καὶ ἀνήγαγον θυσίαν τῶ εἰδώλῳ, καὶ εὐφραίνοντο ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις τῶν χειρῶν αὐτῶν.

If anyone Greek replies would be appreciated does the bold word means icon or calf?
Thanks in advance, may God be with you.

ἡ ἀγάπη ἀνυπόκριτος. ἀποστυγοῦντες τὸ πονηρόν, κολλώμενοι τῶ ἀγαθῶ·

Online LBK

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2009, 06:25:15 AM »
Thank you very much, some protestants tell me that I'm serving for satan by that.
How about the ones below?
And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
καὶ ἐμοσχοποίησαν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις καὶ ἀνήγαγον θυσίαν τῶ εἰδώλῳ, καὶ εὐφραίνοντο ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις τῶν χειρῶν αὐτῶν.

If anyone Greek replies would be appreciated does the bold word means icon or calf?
Thanks in advance, may God be with you.

The words ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις simply mean "in those days".
« Last Edit: June 04, 2009, 06:25:35 AM by LBK »

Offline Michał

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2009, 06:27:37 AM »
If anyone Greek replies would be appreciated does the bold word means icon or calf?

We have to remember that in the Bible there are many words or expressions which have both positive and negative meaning, e.g. "tradition" (meaning either "teachings of the Apostles" or "man-made regulations which are contrary to the Law of God") or "Morning Star" (either title of Jesus or name of Lucifer).
« Last Edit: June 04, 2009, 06:34:57 AM by Michał »

Offline theotokos

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2009, 06:31:25 AM »
The words ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις simply mean "in those days".

ok, so this word has nothing to do with icons right?  :-\

ἡ ἀγάπη ἀνυπόκριτος. ἀποστυγοῦντες τὸ πονηρόν, κολλώμενοι τῶ ἀγαθῶ·

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2009, 06:36:11 AM »
No. It simply means "those".

Offline theotokos

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2009, 06:44:07 AM »
No. It simply means "those".
Phew, now I can tell that my protestant friends that. They tell me that word means icon :laugh:

ἡ ἀγάπη ἀνυπόκριτος. ἀποστυγοῦντες τὸ πονηρόν, κολλώμενοι τῶ ἀγαθῶ·

Offline Michał

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2009, 06:55:52 AM »
Phew, now I can tell that my protestant friends that. They tell me that word means icon :laugh:

Probably they were reffering not to "ἐκείναις" but to "εἰδώλῳ", which means "fetish", "idol" or "image".

Offline theotokos

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2009, 07:08:44 AM »
Probably they were reffering not to "ἐκείναις" but to "εἰδώλῳ", which means "fetish", "idol" or "image".
hmm.. yes that's what referred probably. The Holy Bible is full of metaphors, and we should do our best to get the message.
So..What I get is the icons are not against the bible, and they are not paganistic.
How about the miracles? What I believe is the miracle was not from the icon it self..it was from our Lord. Am I true? What do orthodoxy thinks about the miracles of the icons eg.  Portaitissa Theotokos: http://www.oodegr.com/english/index.htm

ἡ ἀγάπη ἀνυπόκριτος. ἀποστυγοῦντες τὸ πονηρόν, κολλώμενοι τῶ ἀγαθῶ·

Offline Michał

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2009, 07:16:19 AM »
How about the miracles? What I believe is the miracle was not from the icon it self..it was from our Lord. Am I true?

You are right. It works this way:
God creates matter. Humans transforms it. Then God works through this transformed matter to transform the humans. It's a synergy.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2009, 07:17:13 AM by Michał »

Offline theotokos

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2009, 07:32:41 AM »
You are right. It works this way:
God creates matter. Humans transforms it. Then God works through this transformed matter to transform the humans. It's a synergy.
Hmm..that really makes sense.
One more question I have. Do you use icons during the liturgy at church? If you do what are they used for?

ἡ ἀγάπη ἀνυπόκριτος. ἀποστυγοῦντες τὸ πονηρόν, κολλώμενοι τῶ ἀγαθῶ·

Offline ialmisry

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2009, 08:04:05 AM »
Thank you very much, some protestants tell me that I'm serving for satan by that.
How about the ones below?
And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
καὶ ἐμοσχοποίησαν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις καὶ ἀνήγαγον θυσίαν τῶ εἰδώλῳ, καὶ εὐφραίνοντο ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις τῶν χειρῶν αὐτῶν.

If anyone Greek replies would be appreciated does the bold word means icon or calf?
Thanks in advance, may God be with you.

No, what I have put in bold means "calf-making", the underline is the "calf" part.

If you go here:
http://interlinear.biblos.com/
you get the Greek and English.  Click on the Greek, and it will give you a definition in English and other information.

Btw, I've seen many Protestants who don't know Greek well try to impres with their "knowledge."  One particularly bad example was a Protestant translation where they translated "idol" as "icon," but did not so translate "image" (Greek "eikona") when speaking of "the image and likeness of God" etc.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline ialmisry

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2009, 08:09:02 AM »
You are right. It works this way:
God creates matter. Humans transforms it. Then God works through this transformed matter to transform the humans. It's a synergy.
Hmm..that really makes sense.
One more question I have. Do you use icons during the liturgy at church? If you do what are they used for?

Veneration, hürmet, saygı.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Thomas

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2009, 09:40:32 AM »
May I suggest you read In Defense of Icons by St John of Damascus.  A portion withother source documents may be found here www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/johndam-icons.html
When I read it I was very clear about why Orthodox Christians defended and even died to support the use of Iconography in th Church.

Thomas
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2009, 09:51:25 AM »

I am certainly not as well versed as others on this forum, however, I will attempt to answer your questions as best I can.

The very first icon was made by Christ, Himself.  "The Icon Made Without Hands".  If you want a history of this, I or others will be happy to provide it.
However, because Christ left us an "image" of Himself, therefore, it is permitted to have icons.

Secondly, since Christ was completely human, not only divine, due to his human nature, man has seen His face and therefore, can reproduce it.  On the other hand, God the Father, has not been seen by "man" and therefore, should not be depicted by mankind.  Make sense?

As for the use of icons during Liturgy.  There is the iconostasis in the church, which is an icon wall separating the Altar area from the Nave.  It symbolizes the separation of Heaven and Earth.   From the Altar the priest walks out with the Gospel (representing Christ (the Word) coming to Mankind).  There is much more symbolism, but, I don't want to confuse you with too much information.

Finally, the iconostasis works as a "picture book".  In the olden days people did not know how to read, therefore, the Bible was depicted before them in the icons.  They would be able to "read" the entire life of Christ and His Saints.

Remember, when we kiss or venerate icons, we are in actuality transferring our respect and love to the individual depicted on the icon, not the wood and paint, itself.  It's like having a photograph of a loved one.  When you miss your loved one, you will pick up that photo and plant a kiss on it.  You certainly aren't kissing the Kodak paper, you are in fact kissing the loved one.

Welcome to the forum.

God bless you as you make your way in to the Orthodox Church.

Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2009, 10:14:54 AM »
You are right. It works this way:
God creates matter. Humans transforms it. Then God works through this transformed matter to transform the humans. It's a synergy.
Hmm..that really makes sense.
One more question I have. Do you use icons during the liturgy at church? If you do what are they used for?

In addition to what others have said so well above, may I just add that my parish priest always reminds us, his parishioners, that WE are icons as well! That's actually the reason why the priest during the Divine Liturgy always moves his censer toward us, so that the smoke from the sanctified incense covers us, the people. Each and every person, each and every human being is an icon of the living God. So, we just have to live accordingly, in such a way that we don't put any dirt on this icon... :)
Love never fails.

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2009, 10:20:21 AM »

Excellent point.
Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria

Offline ialmisry

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2009, 10:26:45 AM »

I am certainly not as well versed as others on this forum, however, I will attempt to answer your questions as best I can.

The very first icon was made by Christ, Himself.  "The Icon Made Without Hands".  If you want a history of this, I or others will be happy to provide it.
However, because Christ left us an "image" of Himself, therefore, it is permitted to have icons.

Secondly, since Christ was completely human, not only divine, due to his human nature, man has seen His face and therefore, can reproduce it.  On the other hand, God the Father, has not been seen by "man" and therefore, should not be depicted by mankind.  Make sense?

I hope so: "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).

Tanrıyı hiçbir zaman hiç kimse görmedi. Babanın bağrında bulunan ve Tanrı olan biricik Oğul Onu tanıttı John 1:18.

Quote
As for the use of icons during Liturgy.  There is the iconostasis in the church, which is an icon wall separating the Altar area from the Nave.  It symbolizes the separation of Heaven and Earth.   From the Altar the priest walks out with the Gospel (representing Christ (the Word) coming to Mankind).  There is much more symbolism, but, I don't want to confuse you with too much information.

I would add that the icons of the saints on the iconostasis are not like the Cherubim at the gates of Paradise (Gen. 3:24) keeping us away from the Holy of Holies, as in the OT, but the Cloud of Witnesses bringing us into it.  (Heb.12:1)

Quote
Finally, the iconostasis works as a "picture book".  In the olden days people did not know how to read, therefore, the Bible was depicted before them in the icons.  They would be able to "read" the entire life of Christ and His Saints.

Remember, when we kiss or venerate icons, we are in actuality transferring our respect and love to the individual depicted on the icon, not the wood and paint, itself.  It's like having a photograph of a loved one.  When you miss your loved one, you will pick up that photo and plant a kiss on it.  You certainly aren't kissing the Kodak paper, you are in fact kissing the loved one.

Welcome to the forum.

God bless you as you make your way in to the Orthodox Church.


Yes, merhaba.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2009, 11:39:10 AM »
OK Isa....NOW I'm impressed.  :D
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Offline Apostolos

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2009, 11:43:10 AM »
Thank you very much, some protestants tell me that I'm serving for satan by that.
How about the ones below?
And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
καὶ ἐμοσχοποίησαν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις καὶ ἀνήγαγον θυσίαν τῶ εἰδώλῳ, καὶ εὐφραίνοντο ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις τῶν χειρῶν αὐτῶν.

If anyone Greek replies would be appreciated does the bold word means icon or calf?
Thanks in advance, may God be with you.
The part which reads "they made a calf" is ἐμοσχοποίησαν. Μοσχοποιώ (the present tense of the verb ἐμοσχοποίησαν) is a verb and literally means "to build/make a calf".
The ἐκείναις part is a demonstrative pronoun (3rd person plural dative of the feminine pronoun ἑκείνη) which means "in those" or "to those". From ἐ- (e-) augment + κε (ke) subjunctive particle + Homeric ἔνη (enē, which meant "that"). Icon or Ikon is a feminine noun in Greek (Εἰκόνα), probably from the rarely verb ἔοικα, which means "to resemble, to be like". So, Ἑκείνη and Εἰκόνα may look similar but are two totally different words with two completely different meanings. The εἰδώλῳ part (singular dative of the neuter noun εἴδωλον) is what describes the idol.
PS: I apologise for sounding pedantic    

Edit:
Quote from: Αριστοκλής
OK Isa....NOW I'm impressed.
So now we know Isa's an Ottoman secret agent...it's finally confirmed
« Last Edit: June 04, 2009, 11:45:21 AM by Apostolos »
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Offline theotokos

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2009, 07:38:16 AM »
Quote from: Αριστοκλής
OK Isa....NOW I'm impressed.
So now we know Isa's an Ottoman secret agent...it's finally confirmed
[/quote]
What secret agent? Is that some kinda joke or true? :o

ἡ ἀγάπη ἀνυπόκριτος. ἀποστυγοῦντες τὸ πονηρόν, κολλώμενοι τῶ ἀγαθῶ·

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2009, 08:04:06 AM »
Quote from: Αριστοκλής
OK Isa....NOW I'm impressed.
So now we know Isa's an Ottoman secret agent...it's finally confirmed
Quote
What secret agent? Is that some kinda joke or true? :o

JOKE, JOKE!!!!
« Last Edit: June 05, 2009, 08:05:55 AM by Αριστοκλής »
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Offline Thomas

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Re: εικωνογραφία- iconography
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2009, 09:11:02 AM »
Beloved in Christ,
Please remember to avoid too many jokes or side converstaions in the Convert Issues Forum. Many of our posters are non-orthodox or recent converts , or as in the case of poster "Theotokos" are English as a second language and may not fully understand the context of your side comments or jokes.  Please keep your responses direct, to the point, and include documentation or resources they may use to further understand the topic. For further reference please read the purpose of the Convert Issues Forum.

Most of all please keep on topic.

Your brother,
Thomas
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