I have not heard anyone bring up the whole concept of an icon tattoo as an icon.
According to the 7Th council, we should not put icons in a lavatory or any place profaned. Well, that's exactly what's going on every time you walk it with an icon of the Theotokos or anyone else. You are there, peeing and pooping, keeping them with you; an act of piety that would make any iconoclast proud. Or Muslim or Talmudist for that matter.
“We must treat the things of God as they are worthy of God,” someone once told me. I completely agree and as one who has a difficult enough time wearing a crucifix in the bedroom (if you know what I mean) I can't relate to the certainty that this is an OK practice.
Holy icons go where we can pray to them, burn incense before them, and venerate them; they are not pop art, decor, or fashion. The whole idea of using the beauty of the Church, –her gifts to redeem our senses– as vanity just seems absurd and I wonder where from this piety really stems. I can see why one would get a cross = we wear crosses… However, an icon of Christ or a Saint just seems like “baptized” rebelliousness and at very least a practice ignorant of the wisdom and ruling of the Church and Holy Fathers of the 7Th council who suffered to keep icons as holy parts of the life in the Church.
Can you picture the Theotokos sitting under the needle for 12 hours to get a tattoo of St. Simeon? Or a mural of her Son on her back; she lies there topless as the old biker wipes her holy blood off on a rag? This scenario is not coherent with true Christian practice and certainly not an expression of humility or beauty or piety.
If you can imagine this and you are OK with it... –well– good luck.From the 7Th Council:
"Moreover, that the images of Christ, of the Virgin Mother of God and of the other Saints, are to be had and retained particularly in temples, and that due honour and veneration are to be awarded them; not that any divinity or virtue is believed to be in them, on account of which they are to be worshipped; or that anything is to be asked of them; or that confidence is to be reposed in images, as was of old done by Gentiles, who placed their hope in idols; but because the honour which is shown unto them is referred to the prototypes which they represent; in such wise that by the images which we kiss, and before which we uncover the head, and prostrate ourselves, we adore Christ, and venerate the Saints, whose similitude they bear."
"In the invocation of saints, the veneration of relics, and the sacred use of images, every superstition shall be removed, all filthy lucre be abolished, finally, all lasciviousness be avoided; in such wise that figures shall not be painted or adorned with a wantonness of beauty: nor shall men also pervert the celebration of the saints, and the visitation of relics, into revellings and drunkenness; as if festivals are celebrated to the honour of the saints by luxury and wantonness. Finally, let so great care and diligence be used by bishops touching these matters, as that there appear nothing disorderly, or unbecomingly or confusedly arranged, nothing profane, nothing indecorous; since holiness becometh the house of God."
I believe misuse or abuse of icons would fit right into that criteria and in my opinion, tattooing icons on one's person is just that.