That there were pictures in the catacombs etc begs the question whether these were worshiped,
No, it answers the questions whether the Chrisitans had images in their places of worship (besides the obvious, the inscriptions and literary evidence show worship is what was going on in the catacombs). Your Protestant forebares denied their existence when they were creating the church from whence you come, but then in the 17th century the catacombs were rediscovered, and exposed your forebares' fallacy.
Then your Protestant forebares fell back on the waving the veil of Moses, claiming that the Jews don't have images, and so the early Christians didn't either. But now we have unearthed early synagogues, and they are covered in images. So much for that.
So now you are left begging the question that the early Christians had no images, with no evidence. Christ said the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church, the pillar and bulwark of Truth. All those early Churches uncovered have images that cover them. Either call Christ a liar as His Church fell prey to Satan, and hence nothing He said 2,000 years ago has no relevance to us today.
Btw, I was talking to someone about the Chapel at Fort Ross, the first Orthodox parish in the lower 48. If you look inside it today, you might conclude that the early Orhtodox in this country had no images:
(the icons in the cabinet on the walls are period IIRC, but recently restored)
There is almost no description of the Chapel's inside. After all, most at Fort Ross had seen the inside of a Russian Church. THere is more detailed descriptions of the governor and manager's home (which also include the icons that were in the rooms, something different for American and Western European visitors). When the Russians evacuated, they told everything with them to the Cathedral in Sitka, except a lectern, the candlelabra and candle stand.
As for the early Christian Churches, there is the problem that they a) had to be hidden, as they were illegal, b) were being destroyed constantly, because they were illegal, c) after the peace of Constantine, many old icons had "restoration" jobs which inadvertedly destroyed the earlier layers, d) between the iconoclast emperors and muslim caliphs, many more Churches and icons were destroyed (Mt. Sinai, for instance, has many icons from the two centuries before the iconoclasts which do not survive elsewhere).
The Church in Dura Europas survives (from a century before Holy Constantine and only just after a century after the Apostle John), for instance, because it was raised in a remote area, in between persecusions, and the whole section of the city where it was located was filled in with rubble to whithstand the Persian invasion shortly thereafter, protecting the site when the Persians sacked it, and it was never inhabited again. Some of the earliest Eucharist prayer texts and a Gospel harmony come from the same site.
and are irrelevant to what the apostles taught
Only if Christ's promisse that the Church He founded on them would not fall to the gates of Hell, and that He would remain with it all the days until the end of the age, are lies.
The catacombs comport with what the Apostles taught, and what their One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church teaches still.
Only in scripture do we read what the apostles taught,
I had thought of starting a thread on Perssonism's teaching on sola scriptura, but decided the thread "Sola Scriptura - A Diversion From the True Word of God" would be an appropriate place to taste test, to spew out as poison, Perssonism's flavor of Sola Scriptura.
My, in capitals. But I don't see that in that verse.
That teaches sola scriptura. We are to obey ONLY
So then, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye were taught, whether by word, or by epistle of ours.
Ἄρα οὖν, ἀδελφοί, στήκετε, καὶ κρατεῖτε τὰς παραδόσεις ἃς ἐδιδάχθητε εἴτε διὰ λόγου εἴτε δι’ ἐπιστολῆς ἡμῶν
No, not in the original. Maybe in a Latin or Syriac translation or textual varient.
No, not there either.
Maybe someone can find "only" in some translation or another.
but I don't see it in the languages I can read (which are a couple).
So Perssionism has made its own translation to suit its own dogma, like the Jehovah's Witnesses.
every other source is suspect or it would have been canonized.
Your evidence for this (baseless, btw) assertion? The early Church used lots of sources that they did not canonize nor did she doubt; and canonized, for instance, Mark and Luke/Acts (though not Apostles), the annonymous Matthew and Hebrews, and John, despite the fact that he does not identify himself by name.
Of much less weight is the testimony of sub apostolic church fathers, presumably some of them were taught either by an apostle, or someone they taught.
Yes, your testimony is so much weightier than that of those whom were taught either by an Apostles or someone they taught. Of course, since you do not have the autographs of the Apostles, you depend on the Church who preserved, canonized and copied their writiings for a millenium.
To go further away from the apostles begs the question what they apostles taught.
So where does that leave you, in the 21st century, with roots too short to connect to the Apostles by centuries, and dependent on the textual witness of the Orthodox Church and the Jews who denied Christ for your scripture?
Your argument also fails when you argue icons are teaching tools...1)if that's all they were, I wouldn't be objecting to them nor would you insist they be kissed as did the 7th council
LOL. Who needs your approval?
As for the learning angle, it, like the natural affection humans have for things and people they admire, it is so part of human nature, and the before the Fall, that it is taken as a given. As St. John challenged the iconoclasts, whose error you do not continue, but you merely repeat:
by faith without the sensible being needed at all:Oh? Is your Bible written in invisible ink? Is it written on the air? As St. John says "Israel of old did not see God, but we see the Lord's glory face to face."
He goes ont to show the absence of substance to this empty argument:
If you say that only intellectual worship befits God, take away all corporeal things, light, and fragrance, prayer itself through the physical voice, the very divine mysteries which are offered through matter, bread, and wine, the oil of chrism, the sign of the Cross, for all this is matter. Take away the Cross, and the sponge of the Crucifixion, and the spear which pierced the life-giving side. Either give up honouring these things as impossible, or do not reject the veneration of images. Matter is endued with a divine power through prayer made to those who are depicted in image. Purple by itself is simple, and so is silk, and the cloak which is made of both. But if the king put it on, the cloak receives honour from the honour due to the wearer. So is it with matter. By itself it is of no account, but if the one presented in image be full of grace, men become partakers of his grace according to their faith. The apostles knew our Lord with their bodily eyes; others knew the apostles, others the martyrs. I, too, desire to see them in the spirit and in the flesh, and to possess a saving remedy as I am a composite being. .I see with my eyes, and revere that which represents what I honour, though I do not worship it as God. Now you, perhaps, are superior to me, and are lifted up above bodily things, and being, as it were, not of flesh, you make light of what is visible, but as I am human and clothed with a body, I desire to see and to be corporeally with the saints. Condescend to my humble wish that you may be secure on your heights. God accepts my longing for Him and for His saints. For He rejoices at the praises of His servant, according to the great St Basil in his panegyric of the Forty Martyrs. Listen to the words which he uttered in honour of the martyr St Gordion. The mere memory of just deeds is a source of spiritual joy to the whole world ; people are moved to imitate the holiness of which they hear. The life of holy men is as a light illuminating the way for those who would see it. And again, when we recount the story of holy lives we glorify in the first place the Lord of those servants, and we give praise to the servants on account of their testimony, which is known to us. We rejoice the world through good report. Commentary.—The remembrance of the saints is thus, you see, a glory to God, praise of the saints, joy and salvation to the whole world. Why, then, would you destroy it ? This remembrance is kept by preaching and by images, says the same great St Basil. Just as burning follows naturally on fire, and fragrance on sweet ointment, so must good arise from holy actions. For it is no small thing to represent past events according to life.
Blessed Dionysios (the Areogapite) who has made divine things in God's presence his study, says that these representations and images are marked out beforehand. In His counsels, God has noted and settled all that He would do, the unchanging future events before they came to pass. In the same way, a man who wished to build a house, would first make and think out' a plan. Again, visible things are images of invisible and intangible things, on which they throw a faint light. Holy Scripture clothes in figure God and the angels, and the same holy man (Blessed Denis) explains why. When sensible things sufficiently render what is beyond sense, and give a form to what is intangible, a medium would be reckoned imperfect according to our standard, if it did not fully represent material vision, or if it required effort of mind. If, therefore, Holy Scripture, providing for our need, ever putting before us what is intangible, clothes it in flesh, does it not make an image of what is thus invested with our nature, and brought to the level of our desires, yet invisible ? A certain conception through the senses thus takes place in the brain, which was not there before, and is transmitted to the judicial faculty, and added to the mental store. Gregory, who is so eloquent about God, says that the mind which is set upon getting beyond corporeal things, is incapable of doing it. For the invisible things of God since the creation of the world are made visible through images. We see images in creation which remind us faintly of God, as when, for instance, we speak of the holy and adorable Trinity, imaged by the sun, or light, or burning rays, or by a running fountain, or a full river, or by the mind, speech, or the spirit within us, or by a rose tree, or a sprouting flower, or a sweet fragrance.
The fourth kind of image are the figures and types set forth by Scripture of invisible and immaterial things in bodily form, for a clearer apprehension of God and the angels, through our incapacity of perceiving immaterial things unless clothed in analogical material form, as Dionysius the Areopagite says, a man skilled in divine things. Anyone would say that our incapacity for reaching the contemplation of intellectual things, and our need of familiar and cognate mediums, make it necessary that immaterial things should be clothed in form and shape. If, then, holy Scripture adapts itself to us in seeking to elevate us above sense, does it not make images of what it clothes in our own medium, and bring within our reach that which we desire but are unable to see ? The spiritual writer, Gregory, says that the mind striving to banish corporeal images reduces itself to incapability. But from the creation of the world the invisible things of God are made clear by the visible creation. We see images in created things, which remind us faintly of divine tokens. For instance, sun and light and brightness, the running waters of a perennial fountain, our own mind and language and spirit, the sweet fragrance of a flowering rosetree, are images of the Holy and Eternal Trinity.
The sixth kind of image is for a remembrance of past events, of a miracle or a good deed, for the honour and glory and abiding memory of the most virtuous, or for the shame and terror of the wicked, for the benefit of succeeding generations who contemplate it, so that we may shun evil and do good. This image is of two kinds, either through the written word in books, for the word represents the thing, as when God ordered the law to be written on tablets, and the lives of God-fearing men to be recorded, or through a visible object, as when He commanded the urn and rod to be placed in the ark for a lasting memory, and the names of the tribes to be engraved on the stones of the humeral. And also He commanded the twelve stones to be taken from the Jordan as a sacred token. Consider the prodigy, the greatest which befell the faithful people, the taking of the ark, and the parting of the waters. So now we set up the images of valiant men for an example and a remembrance to ourselves. Therefore, either reject all images, and be in opposition to Him who ordered these things, or receive each and all with becoming greeting and manner
2)As they image the Whole Christ in one icon, they teach the illiterate monophysite heresy,
I don't believe Eutyches was illiterate, though I know he was a heretic. Do you know who that is? Do you know what "monophysite" (or for that matter, "heresy") means? Besides tossing the terms around, you don't demonstrate any knowledge of what they mean.
rendering the Transcendent infinite Jesus in two natures,
Christ's human nature is not infinite, as that is against human nature.
into a finite image
Like John 1:14? Phililpians 2:7?
the illiterate believes represents the prototype.
Like John 14:9? Colossians 1:15, 19? Phillippians 2:8?
Your second argument is revisionist history. Icon veneration arose centuries after the apostles,
Your assertion, where is your proof?
as the heresy grew, iconoclasm grew, prior to that there was no need for iconoclasm.
The first iconoclast edict came in 726, with practically no evidence of debate on the matter among Christians, though we have plenty of physical evidence for the prior four centuries of the veneration of icons. Plenty for the iconoclasts, if they had lived, to condmen icons, and plenty of time to do it.
Where we see the start and development of the debate is in Islam, in their second civil war c. 690. For one thing, too many Muslims were attracted by the icons and submitted to baptism as a result. So prior to the need to validate and establish Islam as the supplanter of Christianty, Muhammad as the successor of Christ, and the Quran and the fulfillment of the Bible, yes, there was no need for iconoclasm.
That fits the historical record:
Irenaeus [A.D. 130-200] Against Heresies, Book I, Chapt XXV, 6
6. Others of them employ outward marks, branding their disciples inside the lobe of the right ear. From among these also arose Marcellina, who came to Rome under [the episcopate of] Anicetus, and, holding these doctrines, she led multitudes astray. They style themselves Gnostics. They also possess images, some of them painted, and others formed from different kinds of material; while they maintain that a likeness of Christ was made by Pilate at that time when Jesus lived among them.300 They crown these images, and set them up along with the images of the philosophers of the world that is to say, with the images of Pythagoras, and Plato, and Aristotle, and the rest. They have also other modes of honouring these images, after the same manner of the Gentiles.5- Roberts, A., Donaldson, J., & Coxe, A. C. (1997). The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol.I : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325 (351). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.
Yes, St. Irenaeus was interested in preserving the teaching of the Apostles, and not that of Pilate's pagan Rome nor the pagan philosophers. It doesn't strike you as odd that they evidently depended on Pilate for their icons? And that they placed such an icon among the pagan philosophers? Anyways, notice how St. Irenaeus mentions it offhand, without censure, which is not how he treats of their other beliefs and practices:
1. Carpocrates, again, and his followers maintain that the world and the things which are therein were created by angels greatly inferior to the unbegotten Father. They also hold that Jesus was the son of Joseph, and was just like other men, with the exception that he differed from them in this respect, that inasmuch as his soul was steadfast and pure, he perfectly remembered those things which he had witnessed within the sphere of the unbegotten God. On this account, a power descended upon him from the Father, that by means of it he might escape from the creators of the world; and they say that it, after passing through them all, and remaining in all points free, ascended again to him, and to the powers, which in the same way embraced like things to itself. They further declare, that the soul of Jesus, although educated in the practices of the Jews, regarded these with contempt, and that for this reason he was endowed with faculties, by means of which he destroyed those passions which dwelt in men as a punishment [for their sins].
2. The soul, therefore, which is like that of Christ can despise those rulers who were the creators of the world, and, in like manner, receives power for accomplishing the same results. This idea has raised them to such a pitch of pride, that some of them declare themselves similar to Jesus; while others, still more mighty, maintain that they are superior to his disciples, such as Peter and Paul, and the rest of the apostles, whom they consider to be in no respect inferior to Jesus. For their souls, descending from the same sphere as his, and therefore despising in like manner the creators of the world, are deemed worthy of the same power, and again depart to the same place. But if any one shall have despised the things in this world more than he did, he thus proves himself superior to him.
3. They practise also magical arts and incantations; philters, also, and love-potions; and have recourse to familiar spirits, dream-sending demons, and other abominations, declaring that they possess power to rule over, even now, the princes and formers of this world; and not only them, but also all things that are in it. These men, even as the Gentiles, have been sent forth by Satan to bring dishonour upon the Church, so that, in one way or another, men hearing the things which they speak, and imagining that we all are such as they, may turn away their ears from the preaching of the truth; or, again, seeing the things they practise, may speak evil of us all, who have in fact no fellowship with them, either in doctrine or in morals, or in our daily conduct. But they lead a licentious life, and, to conceal their impious doctrines, they abuse the name [of Christ], as a means of hiding their wickedness; so that their condemnation is just, Romans 3:8 when they receive from God a recompense suited to their works.
4. So unbridled is their madness, that they declare they have in their power all things which are irreligious and impious, and are at liberty to practise them; for they maintain that things are evil or good, simply in virtue of human opinion. They deem it necessary, therefore, that by means of transmigration from body to body, souls should have experience of every kind of life as well as every kind of action (unless, indeed, by a single incarnation, one may be able to prevent any need for others, by once for all, and with equal completeness, doing all those things which we dare not either speak or hear of, nay, which we must not even conceive in our thoughts, nor think credible, if any such thing is mooted among those persons who are our fellow citizens), in order that, as their writings express it, their souls, having made trial of every kind of life, may, at their departure, not be wanting in any particular. It is necessary to insist upon this, lest, on account of some one thing being still wanting to their deliverance, they should be compelled once more to become incarnate. They affirm that for this reason Jesus spoke the following parable:— Whilst you are with your adversary in the way, give all diligence, that you may be delivered from him, lest he give you up to the judge, and the judge surrender you to the officer, and he cast you into prison. Verily, I say unto you, you shall not go out thence until you pay the very last farthing. Matthew 5:25-26; Luke 12:58-59 They also declare the adversary is one of those angels who are in the world, whom they call the Devil, maintaining that he was formed for this purpose, that he might lead those souls which have perished from the world to the Supreme Ruler. They describe him also as being chief among the makers of the world, and maintain that he delivers such souls [as have been mentioned] to another angel, who ministers to him, that he may shut them up in other bodies; for they declare that the body is the prison. Again, they interpret these expressions, You shall not go out thence until you pay the very last farthing, as meaning that no one can escape from the power of those angels who made the world, but that he must pass from body to body, until he has experience of every kind of action which can be practised in this world, and when nothing is longer wanting to him, then his liberated soul should soar upwards to that God who is above the angels, the makers of the world. In this way also all souls are saved, whether their own which, guarding against all delay, participate in all sorts of actions during one incarnation, or those, again, who, by passing from body to body, are set free, on fulfilling and accomplishing what is requisite in every form of life into which they are sent, so that at length they shall no longer be [shut up] in the body.
And then the paragraph before your quote trawl's catch:
5. And thus, if ungodly, unlawful, and forbidden actions are committed among them, I can no longer find ground for believing them to be such. And in their writings we read as follows, the interpretation which they give [of their views], declaring that Jesus spoke in a mystery to His disciples and apostles privately, and that they requested and obtained permission to hand down the things thus taught them, to others who should be worthy and believing. We are saved, indeed, by means of faith and love; but all other things, while in their nature indifferent, are reckoned by the opinion of men— some good and some evil, there being nothing really evil by nature.
Due to lenght I'll deal with you and Novatian, whom you have brought up before it seems in a post I haven't seen, later.
The Gnostic practice of icon veneration, like other heresies, was adopted by the Catholic church,
Actually, St. Irenaeus does not mention the practice of the followers of Marcellina because of the difference between them and the Catholic Church, but because they resembled the practice of the Catholic Church in this, unlike most Gnostics. The gnostics, hating the body and denying, like you, that Christ was really incarnate, had no need for icons, because images and the physical world were the creation of an evil demiurge, the God of the Hebrews. Hence why the gnostic Marcion denied the OT and used only the Gospel of Luke (the only one written by a Gentile, or so the Church tells us), expunged of all references to the OT. Marcellinus attributing the earliest icons to Pilate differs from the Church, who attribute them to St.Luke and the image given to Agbar, but that doesn't seem to have been an enormous problem for St. Irenaeus, seeing how he condemns their "abominations," "madness," etc. In fact, we know that before the Edict of Milan and the Peace of Constantine, some pagans included a portrait of Jesus among their portraits of their philosophers, being chic like Buddhist figures among the Hollywood snobs of today. Where would they get an idea of an image of Christ?
but not without a fight,
We hardly hear a whimper from the iconoclasts until the Muslims raised their hue and cry.
And whereas the iconoclasts' policies were only implemented in areas subjugated by the caliphs and iconoclast emperors, the veneration of icons was over the centuries the universal (i.e. CATHOLIC) practice of the Church, as amply demonstrated.
which we lost.
LOL. Who's "WE?" Is Christ's True Church so puny that from the rising to the setting of the sun the praise of the Holy Icons shouted it down?
No evidence of their theology for nearly a millenium after the foundation of the Church, and then borrowed from the Muslims, the Iconoclasts have no part in Christ Victor.
But history is clear, icon veneration is a non apostolic practice.
Only in the alternative history of the iconoclasts. I'll stick with the history the archeologists dig up and the sources record, which comport with Christ's promises that His Church would not be overcome by Hell, of which heretics are the gatekeepers and guides. The continuous teaching His Church has passed down, which we celebrate in the Triumph of Orthodoxy, demonstrates that is what to depend on.
BUT apostolic doctrine has us walking:LOL. What do you know of apostolic doctrine? as thou walkest disorderly, and not after the Tradition which are received of the Apostles, as St. John points out:
In the first place, grasping as a kind of pillar, or foundation, the teaching of the Church, which is our salvation, I have opened out its meaning, giving, as it were, the reins to a wellcaparisoned charger, For I look upon it as a great calamity that the Church, adorned with her great privileges and the holiest examples of saints in the past, should go back to the first rudiments, and fear where there is no fear. It is disastrous to suppose that the Church does not know God as He is, that she degenerates into idolatry, for if she declines from perfection in a single iota, it is as an enduring mark on a comely face, destroying by its unsightliness the beauty of the whole. A small thing is not small when it leads to something great, nor indeed is it a thing of no matter to give up the ancient tradition of the Church held by our forefathers, whose conduct we should observe, and whose faith we should imitate.