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« on: March 09, 2010, 06:26:50 PM »

The phenomenon of weeping icons is relatively well-known.  Several threads in this forum (both old and new) address the topic.  Here's a question I've pondered for a while (and which I don't see addressed, although I admit my search was not exhaustive).

The occurrence of weeping icons seems to be universally perceived as a positive thing.  But these saints are, in fact, weeping.  Is it possible that they are extremely distressed by something we're doing, and that we're completely misinterpreting what they're trying to communicate?
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2010, 07:05:49 PM »

I wouldn't say weeping icons are "universally" viewed as positive. In Greek speaking countries, weeping icons are viewed as foreboding or weeping over some disaster. For instance, icons throughout Cyprus and Greece wept shortly before the Turkish invasion of Cyprus IN 1974. In the Island of Myteline (Lesbos), a well-known Icon of the Archangel Michael actually disappeared (i.e the image of the Archangel was missing from the Icon Panel) for a week during the invasion. Last month, this miracle occurred again with another famous Icon of the Archangel Michael on the Island of Symi, where the Archangel's face disappeared during Vespers, and Icons were reported as weeping throughout Greece, and this month, Greece finds itself in a disastrous economic situation and austerity measures are being introduced. One of Greece's famous Elders (Elder Paisios who died in 1994) foretold "a great hunger" in Greece and that Turkey would try to attack, and many people (even Media) are wondering whether this is what is happening. So in Greek culture, a weeping icon is viewed as a warning of coming trials and difficulties, but also as a reminder that God holds everything in His hands and is with us through our trials.
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2010, 07:41:02 PM »

There are also icons that weep blood.
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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2010, 03:06:23 PM »

I second everything ozgeorge said. Just wanted to add that some weeping Icons don't actually "weep," in so far as the myrrh doesn't stream out of the eyes. Rather, it kind of perspires over the entire surface of the Icon. That's why many people speak of "Myrrh-Streaming Icons" instead of "Weeping Icons." I've seen a few that would fill up a bowl underneath them during the course of a Paraklesis, but you'd never really notice more than a few beads clustered here or there on the surface at any given point.
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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2010, 10:56:43 PM »

I wouldn't say weeping icons are "universally" viewed as positive. In Greek speaking countries, weeping icons are viewed as foreboding or weeping over some disaster. For instance, icons throughout Cyprus and Greece wept shortly before the Turkish invasion of Cyprus IN 1974. In the Island of Myteline (Lesbos), a well-known Icon of the Archangel Michael actually disappeared (i.e the image of the Archangel was missing from the Icon Panel) for a week during the invasion. Last month, this miracle occurred again with another famous Icon of the Archangel Michael on the Island of Symi, where the Archangel's face disappeared during Vespers, and Icons were reported as weeping throughout Greece, and this month, Greece finds itself in a disastrous economic situation and austerity measures are being introduced. One of Greece's famous Elders (Elder Paisios who died in 1994) foretold "a great hunger" in Greece and that Turkey would try to attack, and many people (even Media) are wondering whether this is what is happening. So in Greek culture, a weeping icon is viewed as a warning of coming trials and difficulties, but also as a reminder that God holds everything in His hands and is with us through our trials.

Talk about timing as I just read your post yesterday and today on Yahoo... http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100310/ap_on_an/us_power_and_debt_analysis

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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2010, 11:35:50 PM »

My younger sister had a severe birth injury due to the doctor trying to remove her the wrong way.
Her entire arm was said to never work again due to the nerves being completely destroyed.
My family brought her to Fr. Constantine Nasr and he blessed her with the tears of the weeping icon and that same day after much praying she was able to use her arm again.
The doctors couldn't believe it.
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« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2010, 12:22:42 AM »

Glory be to God for that wonderful miracle!


My priest did tell me that weeping icons are normally negative, possibly caused by unrepented grievous sin, amongst other things.
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« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2010, 08:44:32 AM »

I am yet to believe in the existence of weeping or myrrh-exuding or bleeding icons. There has been so much forgery on this issue. I also do not believe in apparitions and in supernatural explanations of the incorruptibility of relics. Terrible perhaps, very un-Orthodox, but I just cannot force myself to believe in all that.
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« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2010, 09:19:18 AM »

I am yet to believe in the existence of weeping or myrrh-exuding or bleeding icons. There has been so much forgery on this issue. I also do not believe in apparitions and in supernatural explanations of the incorruptibility of relics. Terrible perhaps, very un-Orthodox, but I just cannot force myself to believe in all that.

So miracles such as St. Demetrius' tomb gushing myrrh, the incorruptible body of St. John the Wonderworker, and so forth, you think is just a bunch of bologna?  Huh

I mean, St. John's body can be viewed in San Francisco. The tomb of St. Demetrius still gushes myrrh. You can go and witness these events for yourself to see that they are true.
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« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2010, 11:38:41 AM »

I am yet to believe in the existence of weeping or myrrh-exuding or bleeding icons. There has been so much forgery on this issue. I also do not believe in apparitions and in supernatural explanations of the incorruptibility of relics. Terrible perhaps, very un-Orthodox, but I just cannot force myself to believe in all that.

So miracles such as St. Demetrius' tomb gushing myrrh, the incorruptible body of St. John the Wonderworker, and so forth, you think is just a bunch of bologna?  Huh

I mean, St. John's body can be viewed in San Francisco. The tomb of St. Demetrius still gushes myrrh. You can go and witness these events for yourself to see that they are true.

I guess I am like doubting Thomas. Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2010, 01:30:35 PM »


So miracles such as St. Demetrius' tomb gushing myrrh, the incorruptible body of St. John the Wonderworker, and so forth, you think is just a bunch of bologna?  Huh

I mean, St. John's body can be viewed in San Francisco. The tomb of St. Demetrius still gushes myrrh. You can go and witness these events for yourself to see that they are true.

One could also "go see for themselves" the weeping Icon the one monastery in Texas (or was it Oklahoma?) had, which was "miraculous" and "healed" many people, and yet it was later admitted to be a hoax. The monks even explained how they faked the whole thing in specific detail. One can also go "see for themselves" miraculous tombs and incorrupted relics of Roman Catholic saints. Are you willing to concede that those post schism saints' relics are also real? (I personally have no problem with post schism saints being "real saints" but many Orthodox do so that's why I ask)

And I've thought about this as of late...why in the world a dead saint's body "gushing myrrh" is a miracle in the first place?  What is the purpose of a such a miracle? Do miracles have a purpose? Is it a "sign"? If they do then what does a corpse "gushing myrrh" say? (I know much of the theology about Theosis and can expound on that, but that really says basically zero to 98% of the people on earth who couldn't care less about the theological understanding of such an event) Is it really myrrh to begin with? And is it really coming from the corpse, or from somewhere else? (like perhaps the body being anointed with myrrh upon burial?) Most so called "incorrupted" relics are hardly well preserved. They simply look like dried/mummified bodies to me. And I think many of them have completely natural explanations. Some are remarkably well preserved indeed, but most really aren't. I think we just tend to want to believe and hence we believe. This can also bring up the question what is a miracle anyway? Are miracles events where God breaks the cosmic laws and bends nature to His will? If so, why not do something a tad more convincing than something that can and has been so easily faked over so much of Church history?

Or are miracles something a bit different? Is not the blooming of a flower a "miracle"? Or the birth of a baby? These have completely observable explanations yet I call these things in some sense a "miracle". The miracle of life. The miracle of love, friendship, a sunset etc. I know people who have been anointed by myrrh from a "myrrh gushing" saint's body, and they experienced no earth shattering, or cosmic law breaking type healing....yet as the years went on, with doctors, proper care, and yes, I do believe with prayer, they gradually improved. Is that any less of a miracle than someone who is healed on the spot? Having prayed for healing and having been "healed" myself I do believe in the power of prayer, and I have no problem with miraculous icons etc per se....but I feel sometimes we get a bit worked up over these things. People crying hysterically in front of icons weeping, or "moving" or saint's body parts flown around the country as though they were an art exhibit. I venerate icons, and saints relics, and certainly God can do anything He wants any way He wants to, but I guess I think it's better to be cautious in regards to these things because so many people have been taken in by hoaxes. And yes, sometimes people were "healed" even by hoaxes...so is the power of healing limited to the icon? I'd say definitely no. But I admit, I'm a skeptic by nature, and probably would be thought of as having a "weak faith", but that's that. I guess I just feel like miracles happen every day, even though they might have completely natural explanations.




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« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2010, 02:31:50 PM »

I am yet to believe in the existence of weeping or myrrh-exuding or bleeding icons. There has been so much forgery on this issue. I also do not believe in apparitions and in supernatural explanations of the incorruptibility of relics. Terrible perhaps, very un-Orthodox, but I just cannot force myself to believe in all that.

So miracles such as St. Demetrius' tomb gushing myrrh, the incorruptible body of St. John the Wonderworker, and so forth, you think is just a bunch of bologna?  Huh

I mean, St. John's body can be viewed in San Francisco. The tomb of St. Demetrius still gushes myrrh. You can go and witness these events for yourself to see that they are true.

I guess I am like doubting Thomas. Smiley

Then be like Thomas, and go and see for yourself. Thomas put his hand in the Lord's wounds, and believed. You too can go and see these things for yourself.

If you trust the authority of the Church in other matters, why would you doubt in this one?

Hoaxes exist, but so does the real thing.

Christ warned us of anti-Christ's, yet that does not change our belief in the Real Christ.
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2010, 02:56:35 PM »

One could also "go see for themselves" the weeping Icon the one monastery in Texas (or was it Oklahoma?) had, which was "miraculous" and "healed" many people, and yet it was later admitted to be a hoax. The monks even explained how they faked the whole thing in specific detail. One can also go "see for themselves" miraculous tombs and incorrupted relics of Roman Catholic saints. Are you willing to concede that those post schism saints' relics are also real? (I personally have no problem with post schism saints being "real saints" but many Orthodox do so that's why I ask)

Hoaxes exist, but as I said to Heorhij, so does the anti-Christ. However David Koresh (of Waco, TX fame) proclaiming himself to be Christ does not alter my faith in the Risen Lord.

As far as post-schism saints, yes, I believe their relics are real. We know where the grace of the Lord is, we don't know where it isn't. It is not for me to judge who is Holy and who is not, but for God himself. If a person is healed by venerating the relics of Francis of Assisi, to God be the glory!

I believe it is God working through the relics, not necassarily the piece of bone itself, that heals. For as we read in the Gospel of Matthew,
"For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour." Matthew 9:21-23 (New King James Version)

And I've thought about this as of late...why in the world a dead saint's body "gushing myrrh" is a miracle in the first place?  What is the purpose of a such a miracle? Do miracles have a purpose? Is it a "sign"? If they do then what does a corpse "gushing myrrh" say? (I know much of the theology about Theosis and can expound on that, but that really says basically zero to 98% of the people on earth who couldn't care less about the theological understanding of such an event) Is it really myrrh to begin with? And is it really coming from the corpse, or from somewhere else? (like perhaps the body being anointed with myrrh upon burial?) Most so called "incorrupted" relics are hardly well preserved. They simply look like dried/mummified bodies to me. And I think many of them have completely natural explanations. Some are remarkably well preserved indeed, but most really aren't. I think we just tend to want to believe and hence we believe. This can also bring up the question what is a miracle anyway? Are miracles events where God breaks the cosmic laws and bends nature to His will? If so, why not do something a tad more convincing than something that can and has been so easily faked over so much of Church history?

Much of this is a mystery and a matter of faith. In regards to the gushing of myrhh, well most bodies don't gush myrhh that heals, so that is why many consider it a miracle. In the case of St. Demetrius, a beautiful scent emanated from his tomb after his burial. As it was common for bodies to be annointed with oil at burial, for the scent of the myrhh to emanate so strongly beyond the tomb to distinguish it from other corpses, obviously it had to be pretty powerful. I have been annointed with oil from his tomb, and it is truly a beautiful fragrance. While I personally have not received healing of body from the oil, I believe others have, and I believe it is healing to the soul.

Or are miracles something a bit different? Is not the blooming of a flower a "miracle"? Or the birth of a baby? These have completely observable explanations yet I call these things in some sense a "miracle". The miracle of life. The miracle of love, friendship, a sunset etc. I know people who have been anointed by myrrh from a "myrrh gushing" saint's body, and they experienced no earth shattering, or cosmic law breaking type healing....yet as the years went on, with doctors, proper care, and yes, I do believe with prayer, they gradually improved. Is that any less of a miracle than someone who is healed on the spot? Having prayed for healing and having been "healed" myself I do believe in the power of prayer, and I have no problem with miraculous icons etc per se....but I feel sometimes we get a bit worked up over these things. People crying hysterically in front of icons weeping, or "moving" or saint's body parts flown around the country as though they were an art exhibit. I venerate icons, and saints relics, and certainly God can do anything He wants any way He wants to, but I guess I think it's better to be cautious in regards to these things because so many people have been taken in by hoaxes. And yes, sometimes people were "healed" even by hoaxes...so is the power of healing limited to the icon? I'd say definitely no. But I admit, I'm a skeptic by nature, and probably would be thought of as having a "weak faith", but that's that. I guess I just feel like miracles happen every day, even though they might have completely natural explanations.

No one is saying the blooming of a rose or the healing through the treatment prescribed by a doctor is not a miracle. We thank God for both of these occurances in our services.

"By the power of the Holy Spirit every flower breathes. Thy breath I
feel in the quiet movement of the fragrant fields. Observing the harmony
of colors I admire Thee. Wherever I look, I see all around me
the beauty of the Great One in the little.Glory and thanks to the lifecreating
God Who covers the earth with flowery meadows, crowns
the fields with golden ears of grain and embellishes them with blue
cornflowers, and my soul with the joy of contemplation. Be glad and
sing to Him: Alleluia!" Akathist of Thanksgiving

"O Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, the Physician of souls and bodies, who didst become man and suffered death on the cross for our salvation, and through thy tender love and compassion didst heal all manner of sickness and affliction: do thou O Lord, visit me in my suffering, and grant me grace and strength to bear this sickness with which I am afflicted, with Christian patience and submission to thy will, trusting in thy loving kindness and tender mercy. Bless, I pray thee, the means used for my recovery, and those who administer them. I know O Lord, that I justly deserve any punishment thou mayest inflict upon me, for I have so often offended thee and sinned against thee, in thought, word, and deed. There- fore, I humbly pray thee, look upon my weakness, and deal not with me after my sins, but according to the multitude of thy mercies. Have compassion on me, and let mercy and justice meet and deliver me from this sickness and suffering I am undergoing. Grant that my sickness may be the means of my true repentance and amendment of my life according to thy will, that I may spend the rest of my days in thy love and fear; that my soul, being helped by thy grace and sanctified by thy Holy Mysteries, may be prepared for its passage to the Eternal Life. And there, in the company of thy blessed Saints, may praise and glorify thee with thy Eternal Father and Life-giving Spirit. Amen." Eastern Orthodox Prayer for Healing

However, if a person who is a cripple is annointed with oil from the relics of a saint and can suddenly walk because of the annointing, should not God be praised?

As Orthodox Christians, we do not put "God in a box." We know that God works in many ways.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (New King James Version)

8 “ For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
      Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
       9 “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
      So are My ways higher than your ways,
      And My thoughts than your thoughts

It has always been Orthodox belief that God works in many different ways, and that it is not limited to healing through relics, however we also realize that God has used relics to heal.

So rather than become cynical at the hoaxes that exist, we should praise God that genuine healings do happen through the veneration of relics, and through the treatment of medicine through doctors. For both are gifts from God, and to God be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
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« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2010, 04:59:42 PM »

Having personally viewed the Miraculous Lady of Cicero, I can assure you that a myrrh-bearing icon can be real. ABC news did a special report on the Miraculous Lady of Cicero and they affirmed that there was no possible way that the myrrh could have been forged. If you go to St. George to see the Lady during visiting hours, you can see the back of the icon and see that there are no pumps or hoses or feeds or anything of that nature. Many miracles have been associated with her as well. All photographers who tried to get a photo of her failed until a young man who was on his first ever photography trip took a picture which turned out perfectly. Many other miracles have been attributed to her including many who have been healed by her tears. Again I reiterate there is no way in my opinion that the myrrh streaming of this icon (or others like it) can be forged or faked.

-Nick
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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2010, 05:02:23 PM »

Speaking of relics: is the body of St. John Maximovich exhibited clothed, or naked?

In the Kyiv-Pechers'k Lavra, there are hundreds or even maybe thousands of... well, objects, kept in sarcophaguses with the top made of glass, so one can "see" them - but they are actually wrapped in clothes entirely, or almost entilery. Sometimes one can see a small part of a skull - something of a very dark brown color, either a dried bone or a piece of very dried, dessicated leather. The rest of the "object" is about 10-15 inches long, 6-7 inches wide, and wrapped in many layers of cloth.

That is supposed to mean "bodies that did not yield to corruption?" The clergy in the Lavra keep calling them "netlinni moshchi," i.e. "bodies un-touched by corruption..."
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« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2010, 05:21:13 PM »

As I understand it, the "incorruption" of the relics refers to the skin remaining on the bones and being supple; a sweet fragrance instead of the stench of corruption, etc. It doesn't mean the complete incorruption of the resurrection- after all, if they were completely incorrupt, the saints would still be alive!

But maybe I've misunderstood the phenomenon.
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« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2010, 06:52:05 PM »

Dear Heorhij

I can tell you that I have indeed stood before a myrrh-streaming icon of St Nicholas which my parish was privileged to host about ten tears ago. Here's a short history:

Quote
There is a recent example of a myrrh-streaming icon of St Nicholas of Myra, a printed icon laminated with plastic and mounted on board, which was produced by a monastery in Wisconsin. The interesting thing is that this icon was considered "unfit" for sale by the monastery, because of a flaw in the mounting process. Such icons were given away, not sold, to visitors to the monastery for this reason.

An Orthodox priest from Indiana acquired one of these icons, and, in 1996, on the morning of the feast-day of St Nicholas, the icon which had been placed on the main icon stand in the church began streaming myrrh. It has done so ever since, and miracles have been reported from those who have venerated the icon or have been anointed with the myrrh. Despite extensive examination, no rational or scientific explanation for this phenomenon has been found.


On learning of its history, I couldn't help thinking of the passage "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone" - that even an ordinary, humble, printed icon, mounted on craft board, which was deemed not good enough for sale, but simply given away, became a source of miracles. During the supplicatory service conducted in honor of St Nicholas, I clearly remember standing before the icon, and seeing, before my eyes, the fragrant oil emerging from the icon, forming a bead, and then trickling down the surface of the icon. For the record, I am trained in scientific and medical disciplines, and prone to skepticism, yet, this phenomenon was one I can never forget.
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« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2010, 07:12:17 PM »

Speaking of relics: is the body of St. John Maximovich exhibited clothed, or naked?

In the Kyiv-Pechers'k Lavra, there are hundreds or even maybe thousands of... well, objects, kept in sarcophaguses with the top made of glass, so one can "see" them - but they are actually wrapped in clothes entirely, or almost entilery. Sometimes one can see a small part of a skull - something of a very dark brown color, either a dried bone or a piece of very dried, dessicated leather. The rest of the "object" is about 10-15 inches long, 6-7 inches wide, and wrapped in many layers of cloth.

That is supposed to mean "bodies that did not yield to corruption?" The clergy in the Lavra keep calling them "netlinni moshchi," i.e. "bodies un-touched by corruption..."

Yes, I've passed through those caves several times, and often wondered if it could really be possible that people in those days were so much tinier than modern-day people, judging by the "coffin" size. Undecided
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« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2010, 07:22:38 PM »

Yes, I've passed through those caves several times, and often wondered if it could really be possible that people in those days were so much tinier than modern-day people, judging by the "coffin" size. Undecided

Yes, Rosehip, rising living standards in the last century or two have indeed allowed people to become taller and larger. One small example: archeological evidence, in the form of helmets and armor worn by ancient warriors, such as Greeks, Romans, and the like. These artefacts clearly show that earlier peoples were, indeed, generally physically smaller than those of today. We also have many similar artefacts and clothing from later periods which show that,up until the mid-19th century, people tended to be smaller-framed than their late 20th-early 21st century counterparts.
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« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2010, 07:28:14 PM »

Dear Heorhij

I can tell you that I have indeed stood before a myrrh-streaming icon of St Nicholas which my parish was privileged to host about ten tears ago. Here's a short history:

Quote
There is a recent example of a myrrh-streaming icon of St Nicholas of Myra, a printed icon laminated with plastic and mounted on board, which was produced by a monastery in Wisconsin. The interesting thing is that this icon was considered "unfit" for sale by the monastery, because of a flaw in the mounting process. Such icons were given away, not sold, to visitors to the monastery for this reason.

An Orthodox priest from Indiana acquired one of these icons, and, in 1996, on the morning of the feast-day of St Nicholas, the icon which had been placed on the main icon stand in the church began streaming myrrh. It has done so ever since, and miracles have been reported from those who have venerated the icon or have been anointed with the myrrh. Despite extensive examination, no rational or scientific explanation for this phenomenon has been found.


On learning of its history, I couldn't help thinking of the passage "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone" - that even an ordinary, humble, printed icon, mounted on craft board, which was deemed not good enough for sale, but simply given away, became a source of miracles. During the supplicatory service conducted in honor of St Nicholas, I clearly remember standing before the icon, and seeing, before my eyes, the fragrant oil emerging from the icon, forming a bead, and then trickling down the surface of the icon. For the record, I am trained in scientific and medical disciplines, and prone to skepticism, yet, this phenomenon was one I can never forget.

Interesting. I wish I could see something like that. I never have.
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« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2010, 07:29:27 PM »

Yes, I've passed through those caves several times, and often wondered if it could really be possible that people in those days were so much tinier than modern-day people, judging by the "coffin" size. Undecided

Yes, Rosehip, rising living standards in the last century or two have indeed allowed people to become taller and larger. One small example: archeological evidence, in the form of helmets and armor worn by ancient warriors, such as Greeks, Romans, and the like. These artefacts clearly show that earlier peoples were, indeed, generally physically smaller than those of today. We also have many similar artefacts and clothing from later periods which show that,up until the mid-19th century, people tended to be smaller-framed than their late 20th-early 21st century counterparts.

But the relics in Kyiv are more like big caterpillars, they aren't even the size of a child... Maybe drying, I dunno.
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« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2010, 10:37:58 PM »

Speaking of relics: is the body of St. John Maximovich exhibited clothed, or naked?

In the Kyiv-Pechers'k Lavra, there are hundreds or even maybe thousands of... well, objects, kept in sarcophaguses with the top made of glass, so one can "see" them - but they are actually wrapped in clothes entirely, or almost entilery. Sometimes one can see a small part of a skull - something of a very dark brown color, either a dried bone or a piece of very dried, dessicated leather. The rest of the "object" is about 10-15 inches long, 6-7 inches wide, and wrapped in many layers of cloth.

That is supposed to mean "bodies that did not yield to corruption?" The clergy in the Lavra keep calling them "netlinni moshchi," i.e. "bodies un-touched by corruption..."

St. John is dressed in his Bishops vestments, as per standard burial procedure for a Bishop. His hands are visible.
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« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2010, 10:42:13 PM »

Yes, I've passed through those caves several times, and often wondered if it could really be possible that people in those days were so much tinier than modern-day people, judging by the "coffin" size. Undecided

This is related yet unrelated at the same time. Smiley

While visiting Ireland in 2007, my friend and I passed through the quaint village of Adaire, not far from the city of Limerick. Adaire has had many of it's homes preserved from the 16th Century. What my friend and I found remarkable was how small the doorway entrances were to the cottages, as people were much shorter then. I am 5'7", and my friend is about 5'5", and both of us had to duck our heads to enter the cottages.

So it would stand to reason that people were much shorter in centuries past.
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« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2010, 11:39:50 PM »

[Yes, I've passed through those caves several times, and often wondered if it could really be possible that people in those
But the relics in Kyiv are more like big caterpillars, they aren't even the size of a child... Maybe drying, I dunno.
More likely, the relics you describe are not in burial coffins as we know them, but in ossuaries. The bodies would have been buried originally, then, after several years, exhumed, the bones washed and dried, then placed in a box similar to a coffin, but much smaller, as the bones would simply be packed into the ossuary without attempting to arrange the skeleton as it would be in real life. This was common practice not only in monasteries, but in towns and villages all over Europe. This way, a family grave could be reused over and over again, over generations and centuries. The ossuaries themselves would be stacked in crypts, which were often in basements of churches, or in caves.
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« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2010, 11:02:00 AM »

[Yes, I've passed through those caves several times, and often wondered if it could really be possible that people in those
But the relics in Kyiv are more like big caterpillars, they aren't even the size of a child... Maybe drying, I dunno.
More likely, the relics you describe are not in burial coffins as we know them, but in ossuaries. The bodies would have been buried originally, then, after several years, exhumed, the bones washed and dried, then placed in a box similar to a coffin, but much smaller, as the bones would simply be packed into the ossuary without attempting to arrange the skeleton as it would be in real life. This was common practice not only in monasteries, but in towns and villages all over Europe. This way, a family grave could be reused over and over again, over generations and centuries. The ossuaries themselves would be stacked in crypts, which were often in basements of churches, or in caves.

Yes, that's probably it. But then, why are we supposed to admire that what is shown to us in these ossuaries defied corruption? Perhaps ANY human body can be displayed like this, - no?
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« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2010, 11:46:31 AM »


Yes, that's probably it. But then, why are we supposed to admire that what is shown to us in these ossuaries defied corruption? Perhaps ANY human body can be displayed like this, - no?

Heorhij, I agree with you. Especially that bolded part, which makes me purely agnostic on this issue of incorrupted relics.

There are plenty of human corpses all over the world that exhibit the same properties, and these people weren't always Christian, some are of other faiths, some of no faith at all. (I've heard some people claim Lenin's body is preserved) There are remains of non mummified ancient Egyptians that look just like some of our relics and we don't claim that they were also "saints" or are somehow incorrupted. In those cases I'm sure most Orthodox/Catholics would probably argue it's just a natural phenomena based on the dry desert climate, being buried in a cool dry place, or other such circumstances.

Now I'm not personally denying that people of non Christian faiths aren't "saints" or have not achieved some high level of Theosis, because that's not for me to say. (I personally have no problem with that concept) But most Orthodox I think would draw the line at non-Apostolic Christians as having any level of sainthood.

I've often heard many Orthodox/Catholics deride Protestants (or non Christian faiths) by saying "where are their saints if their religion is true?"  Of course I'm not saying anyone in this discussion has ever said that, but I've heard it said in person, and I've seen it written on these forums in the past. So what do we say about incorrupt Hindu bodies? Or Muslim bodies? Or whatever the case may be. Sure we can say "we don't know" and that's the position I take. I just happen to take it for our relics too. Smiley


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« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2010, 01:44:56 PM »

Heorhij, I agree with you. Especially that bolded part, which makes me purely agnostic on this issue of incorrupted relics.

There are plenty of human corpses all over the world that exhibit the same properties, and these people weren't always Christian, some are of other faiths, some of no faith at all. (I've heard some people claim Lenin's body is preserved) There are remains of non mummified ancient Egyptians that look just like some of our relics and we don't claim that they were also "saints" or are somehow incorrupted. In those cases I'm sure most Orthodox/Catholics would probably argue it's just a natural phenomena based on the dry desert climate, being buried in a cool dry place, or other such circumstances.

Now I'm not personally denying that people of non Christian faiths aren't "saints" or have not achieved some high level of Theosis, because that's not for me to say. (I personally have no problem with that concept) But most Orthodox I think would draw the line at non-Apostolic Christians as having any level of sainthood.

I've often heard many Orthodox/Catholics deride Protestants (or non Christian faiths) by saying "where are their saints if their religion is true?"  Of course I'm not saying anyone in this discussion has ever said that, but I've heard it said in person, and I've seen it written on these forums in the past. So what do we say about incorrupt Hindu bodies? Or Muslim bodies? Or whatever the case may be. Sure we can say "we don't know" and that's the position I take. I just happen to take it for our relics too. Smiley

I think you're missing the point. No one here is saying "only our relics are incorrupt." We don't know about other faith's relics, and to be honest, I don't concern myself with them.

What makes a relic holy is not whether or not it is an incorrupt part of a saint's body; it's the miracles that are attributed to it afterward. This is also part of what makes a person recognized as a saint. Someone (or a small group of people) will start venerating a person after they die, and miracles are attributed to that person afterward.

For example, this past weekend I heard a monk speak who was part of the same monastery as Fr. Seraphim Rose of blessed memory. (I forget his name, my apologies. I can provide pictures if need be.) The monk recalled a time when Fr. Seraphim had sent him to go grocery shopping. When he got to the check-out, he realized he had lost the money Fr. Seraphim had given him for the groceries. He called Fr. Seraphim on a pay phone at the grocery store, told him what happened, and proceeded to head back towards the monastery, preparing for a good tongue lashing for being so irresponsible.

As he got out of the car, Fr. Seraphim marched out of the chapel, walked right up to him and declared "ArchBishop John said the money is in your breast pocket!" (St. John the Wonderworker had not been officially canonized at this point.) The monk looked at Fr. Seraphim in shock. Fr. Seraphim responded, "After you called, I went in the chapel and prayed to ArchBishop John, and he told me the money is in your breast pocket."

Sure enough, it was there.

In regards to Lenin's body, I have heard he had instructions in his will to make sure that it would be preserved forever. It's not quite the same preservation we are talking about here.

I hear you coming up with a lot of objections as to why relics shouldn't be venerated, but then how do you explain the miracles that truly have been attributed to them? The veneration of relics is scriptural and part of Holy Tradition.

Also, if you don't agree with the veneration of relics, then do you consider the altar in the sacristy to be holy since it contains the relics of saints?

The veneration of relics is not just a minor footnote in the Orthodox faith; it is a large part of our Holy Tradition. I strongly suggest you speak with your Spiritual Father about your concerns, as he may be able to answer your questions.
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« Reply #27 on: March 12, 2010, 04:00:15 PM »

(I've heard some people claim Lenin's body is preserved)
I had heard, though, that the Soviet government preserved Lenin's body in formaldehyde in mockery of Orthodox reports on the uncorrupted quality of some saints' relics.
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« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2010, 04:03:48 PM »

(I've heard some people claim Lenin's body is preserved)
I had heard, though, that the Soviet government preserved Lenin's body in formaldehyde in mockery of Orthodox reports on the uncorrupted quality of some saints' relics.

I don't think the method is a secret. Lenin's body receives regular treatment with an assortment of chemicals (not just formaldehyde). The same was done with the bodies of Mao and Ho which are also on public display in their respective countries. 
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« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2010, 04:09:41 PM »

(I've heard some people claim Lenin's body is preserved)
I had heard, though, that the Soviet government preserved Lenin's body in formaldehyde in mockery of Orthodox reports on the uncorrupted quality of some saints' relics.

I don't think the method is a secret. Lenin's body receives regular treatment with an assortment of chemicals (not just formaldehyde). The same was done with the bodies of Mao and Ho which are also on public display in their respective countries.  
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« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2010, 04:59:46 PM »


...again...call me naive...but, I believe icons weep.

I have been privileged to see a number of them.  Just this last Nativity Lent a local OCA church had 3 weeping icons of the Mother of God.  As was previously mentioned, they were not tears from the eyes of the icon...it was a persistent flow of this sweet smelling, oily substance.  Amazing.

Last year a local Romanian church also had a myrrh streaming icon. 

A few years back, a Greek church had an icon of St. Phenorius (sp?) which exuded a "fog".  It was quite the experience.  April 1st...it had snowed unexpectedly overnight...the sun was shining...everything was so "new" and crisp...and that morning I saw an icon with a at least 3 inches of "mist" around it.  I will never forget it.

Just this last Sunday - at our local Pan-Orthodox Lenten Vespers, the Romanian church had a relic of the True Cross available for veneration on the Sunday of the Holy Cross.  How cool was that?!?  Was it really the True Cross?  I chose to believe that it was...and was honored to be in it's presence.



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« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2010, 05:44:47 PM »

Pani Lizo, it's not that you are naive. Maybe you are just really "pure in heart."

Again, I, unfortunately, never saw any myrrh-exuding icons and I do not know anyone who was healed by icons or relics.
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« Reply #32 on: March 12, 2010, 11:03:20 PM »


...again...call me naive...but, I believe icons weep.

I have been privileged to see a number of them.  Just this last Nativity Lent a local OCA church had 3 weeping icons of the Mother of God.  As was previously mentioned, they were not tears from the eyes of the icon...it was a persistent flow of this sweet smelling, oily substance.  Amazing.

Last year a local Romanian church also had a myrrh streaming icon. 

A few years back, a Greek church had an icon of St. Phenorius (sp?) which exuded a "fog".  It was quite the experience.  April 1st...it had snowed unexpectedly overnight...the sun was shining...everything was so "new" and crisp...and that morning I saw an icon with a at least 3 inches of "mist" around it.  I will never forget it.

Just this last Sunday - at our local Pan-Orthodox Lenten Vespers, the Romanian church had a relic of the True Cross available for veneration on the Sunday of the Holy Cross.  How cool was that?!?  Was it really the True Cross?  I chose to believe that it was...and was honored to be in it's presence.








I truly do believe that they do also, my sister was healed with the tears of one Cheesy
I know that if it was a "relic" then it was a copy of one.
I'm really sorry if I just bursted your bubble.
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« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2010, 12:32:14 AM »

Speaking of relics: is the body of St. John Maximovich exhibited clothed, or naked?

In the Kyiv-Pechers'k Lavra, there are hundreds or even maybe thousands of... well, objects, kept in sarcophaguses with the top made of glass, so one can "see" them - but they are actually wrapped in clothes entirely, or almost entilery. Sometimes one can see a small part of a skull - something of a very dark brown color, either a dried bone or a piece of very dried, dessicated leather. The rest of the "object" is about 10-15 inches long, 6-7 inches wide, and wrapped in many layers of cloth.

That is supposed to mean "bodies that did not yield to corruption?" The clergy in the Lavra keep calling them "netlinni moshchi," i.e. "bodies un-touched by corruption..."
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« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2010, 12:35:49 AM »

and this is how he looked years ago, after his repose (face uncovered, not grusome)
http://members.tripod.com/~shtyetz_john/saint_john_repose.bmp
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« Reply #35 on: March 15, 2010, 01:09:01 AM »

and this is how he looked years ago, after his repose (face uncovered, not grusome)
http://members.tripod.com/~shtyetz_john/saint_john_repose.bmp
I clicked the link and got the following message:

Quote
This file is hosted by Tripod, a Lycos®Network Site, and is not available for download. Please check out Tripod's Help system for more information about Remote Loading and our Remote Loading policy.
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« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2010, 01:26:37 AM »

here's the picture on the site (I found it elsewhere)

http://www.orthodoxphotos.com/Holy_Relics/St._John_Maximovitch/1.shtml
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« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2010, 10:28:48 AM »

Just this last Sunday - at our local Pan-Orthodox Lenten Vespers, the Romanian church had a relic of the True Cross available for veneration on the Sunday of the Holy Cross.  How cool was that?!?  Was it really the True Cross?  I chose to believe that it was...and was honored to be in it's presence.

I know that if it was a "relic" then it was a copy of one.
I'm really sorry if I just bursted your bubble.

Why do you say it was only "copy"?

Either way....you couldn't burst my bubble even if you had intended.  My bubble is unburstable!   Cheesy

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« Reply #38 on: March 15, 2010, 01:17:57 PM »

Just this last Sunday - at our local Pan-Orthodox Lenten Vespers, the Romanian church had a relic of the True Cross available for veneration on the Sunday of the Holy Cross.  How cool was that?!?  Was it really the True Cross?  I chose to believe that it was...and was honored to be in it's presence.

I know that if it was a "relic" then it was a copy of one.
I'm really sorry if I just bursted your bubble.

Why do you say it was only "copy"?

Either way....you couldn't burst my bubble even if you had intended.  My bubble is unburstable!   Cheesy



Just because often the term "Relic" is used for, like it wasn't the real thing, but it was identical to it.
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« Reply #39 on: March 15, 2010, 01:45:54 PM »


Actually, I've never heard it used to indicate an "imitation".

rel·ic

–noun
1. a surviving memorial of something past.
2. an object having interest by reason of its age or its association with the past: a museum of historic relics.
3. a surviving trace of something: a custom that is a relic of paganism.
4. relics,
   a. remaining parts or fragments.
   b. the remains of a deceased person.
5. something kept in remembrance; souvenir; memento.
6. Ecclesiastical. (esp. in the Roman Catholic and Greek churches) the body, a part of the body, or some personal memorial of a saint, martyr, or other sacred person, preserved as worthy of veneration.
7. a once widespread linguistic form that survives in a limited area but is otherwise obsolete.

...and yet once again, I was privileged to see more relics this past Sunday - during the Pan-Orthodox Vespers.

They even had a tiny relic of St. John Chrysostom.  Wow.

Granted the relics were "tiny"....but, none the less...awe inspiring!



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« Reply #40 on: March 15, 2010, 05:10:34 PM »

Ohhh Okay I'm wrong Cheesy
It really strikes my curiosity as to how the bodies of saints have been preserved for as long as they have been.
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