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Author Topic: photos of holy people  (Read 1864 times) Average Rating: 0
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erracht
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« on: April 15, 2004, 04:41:33 AM »

Could it be permissible to use photos of saints as ikons?
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2004, 08:47:10 AM »

It would be inconsistent with Tradition and with the theology that guides the writing and veneration of icons.  Icons are written according to strict norms that guarantee they do not merely represent earthly qualities, +á la Renaissance Western art, but convey those realities divinized.  That is why they are spoken of as "windows into heaven."  Photos, obviously, cannot do that.
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2004, 11:00:39 AM »

Even the most liberal of Orthodox groups would scoff at using a photo for an Icon. An Icon is a window into the soul and there are those who won't let their picture be taken because it just captures their physical self and ignores the soul.
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Joseph
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2004, 11:07:56 AM »

Even the most liberal of Orthodox groups would scoff at using a photo for an Icon. An Icon is a window into the soul and there are those who won't let their picture be taken because it just captures their physical self and ignores the soul.

Is this to say that an icon does "capture the soul"? How does the iconographer know or "see" the soul of a saint? (No cynicism, genuinely curious)

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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2004, 05:57:11 PM »

The icon of St. Tikhon painted on the wall to the right of the altar area of St. Nicholas Cathedral (OCA) in Washington, D.C.  looks like a photo was used as a reference. Just an observation.

Ebor
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2004, 06:52:27 AM »

My feeling is that it's probably OK to use the photo if the halo already appears in it.
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prodromos
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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2004, 07:32:33 AM »

My feeling is that it's probably OK to use the photo if the halo already appears in it.


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prodromos
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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2004, 07:41:22 AM »

Christos Anesti!  Christ is Risen!

Could it be permissible to use photos of saints as ikons?

Personally, I think that until such time as icons are available of the particular saints you wish to venerate, photos would be fine. We have photos of Elder Porphyrios (page fell out of a not too well bound book on the elder) and Elder Paisios amongst our icons, and I'm sure a couple of people on the forum have photos of Elder Joseph the Hesychast on their icon walls. It is only recently that icons of Saint Silouan have been painted, and Orthodox have been venerating him for quite some time.

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Seraphim Reeves
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2004, 08:24:31 AM »

While a photo is not an "Icon", I don't see a problem with having a photo of a holy person, particularly if icons are not readily available (ex. the person has not been canonized by any local Church.)  I know a lot of people keep photos of the blessed heiromonks Seraphim (Rose) and Justin (of Serbia) in lieu of Icons of them.

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ania
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« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2004, 10:04:35 AM »

My grandfather, who was an iconographer. used photos when available (usually of new martyrs) to paint icons that were ordered (he didn't copy the photo I mean, but used photos to make the saints look like themselves, unlike a lot of icons these days of modern saints that look almost nothing like what they actually looked like in their life time).  Also now a portrait he did of St. John of Shanghi still during the saint's life is being used as an icon, with a halo added.
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« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2004, 10:26:43 AM »

I have a photo of Hieromonk Seraphim in my Icon corner.  The priest I spoke to about it said its ok as long as an Icon cannot easily be obtained.

Joe Zollars
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« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2004, 10:50:25 AM »

My feeling is that it's probably OK to use the photo if the halo already appears in it.


uh oh... one word: Photoshop  Grin

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Ebor
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« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2004, 12:04:23 PM »

Icons are windows into heaven, photos are captured images of time and space in this world.

Icons are not artwork but created through prayer and fasting, it is sad but there are many "iconographers" who no longer keep this practice but mearly create art.
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« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2004, 12:19:52 PM »

hmm interesting.  I was told that photos rather than Icons should be used for private veneration leading up to Glorification--as it is inapropriate to write an Icon of a non-saint.

Joe Zollars
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