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Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Carpatho-Russian
Posts: 1

My Chrismation on September 26, 2009

« on: December 11, 2009, 06:14:55 AM »

Hello everyone,

I was Chrismated into the Orthodox Church in September, and it has been the best decision I ever made.  I'm truly thankful that the Holy Spirit has led me into Christ's Church.  I do have a question I'm hoping someone can answer, though.  I've searched the Internet and haven't been able to find an answer to this question.  My priest explained to me that three dimensional statues are not a part of Orthodox tradition and are frowned upon by the Church.  He explained that the Church uses icons instead, and he explained the reasoning behind it.  I told him that I have a large collection of Nativity sets that I've been collecting since my Protestant days, and that I display them in my home every Christmas season, and that all the sets contain three dimensional statues.  When I told him that, he really didn't respond.  So, this is what brings me here.  Does the Orthodox Church view these Nativity sets the same way it views three dimensional statues, or are the Nativity sets okay since none of them have been blessed?  I also have many Christmas ornaments that are three dimensional and depict the Virgin Mary, Jesus, Joseph, and angels.  Are those okay to display on my tree, or should I get rid of them?  If these Nativity sets and Christmas ornaments violate Orthodox traditions or doctrines, I will not hesitate to get rid of them.  If they're acceptable, however, I'll keep them.  I plan to ask my priest about this again on Sunday, but I would like to get some feedback from the community here in the meantime.  Thank you in advance to anyone who can answer my questions.  (By the way, I think I posted in the right place, but I'm not sure.  If I've posted this in the incorrect place, I apologize.  I'm new here.) 
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
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Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382

My plans for retirement.

« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2009, 07:06:53 AM »

Welcome to the forum!
Firstly, I don't think your nativity sets are depicting "strange gods". Secondly, a portable Icon is a three dimensional object, a relief icon is a three dimensional object, the Icon of the Crucifixion in the Church is a three dimensional object and the Corpus is removable, so the issue is not three-dimensions. Thirdly, Western Rite Orthodox Churches, and in some rare cases, Eastern Orthodox Churches venerate statues (such as the Serbian Orthodox Church's Virgin of Sokolica in Kosovo).

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
The Awful Preacher
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Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek
Posts: 574

Alexandros Papadiamantis

« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2009, 08:15:41 AM »

You can keep them to decorate your house. Not as works of religious worship, but as pure Christmas decorating. Everyone has one of those. Roll Eyes

Welcome to the forums and have a nice journey in the Church!

Though I've walked the valley of the shadow of the death, I've fallen not. Not completely. Not yet.
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Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antioch
Posts: 2,560

« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2009, 08:20:05 AM »

Greetings, Michael.
Do you venerate these statues or sets as you do an icon? No, of course you don't. You know there's a difference. Enjoy them. They are a Christmas tradition not rooted in a traditionally Orthodox ethnicity, just like your Christmas tree.
I have only one Nativity set that I value highly. I bought it in Paraguay where my family and I served as missionaries in my Protestant days. It has a delightful rustic simplicity and certainly reminds me of three very special years in my life.
I would love to see your collection.
Tags: convert issues  statues  icons  Christmas 
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