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Author Topic: printing out pictures of icons  (Read 2678 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 25, 2011, 06:24:54 PM »

Out of curiosity would there be anything wrong with printing out pictures of icons and keeping them around my room? I do intend to purchase icons at some point but since I had to go randomn for my roommate next year I'm not sure if keeping actual icons in my room would be a good idea. For one, I could easily get a protestant (I go to an evangelical school) who could be completely uncomfortable with icons in the room since it is essentially a shared bedroom. 2) I could also end up with a individual who does not respect others property since I have no idea who I will be rooming with. I don't want to have to worry about an icon being damaged by carelessness of others.
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2011, 06:34:07 PM »

In my sincere and completely-unauthoritative opinion:

Printed icons are still icons. They depict Christ and his saints, and should be shown the exact same respect as a mounted print or a hand-painted icon. There are printed icons that have been myrrh-streaming. I believe this is solid evidence of the validity of such icons.

So, if you're looking to print out icons instead of buying them so that if they are unwanted or damaged...you shouldn't. They should be treated just like any other icon, whether they cost more money or not...the depiction is the same. Even an icon that is printed on plain paper should be respectfully handled and venerated, and when it needs to be disposed of, it should be burned in holy trash...just like any other icon.

However, if you're in a money pinch but want icons...go for it. Like I stated before, I believe they are just as "valid" (to use some Latin terminology) as a mounted print or even a hand-painted icon. The monetary value of the icon does not matter, it is that fact that it depicts the image of God (either through Christ Himself or in His saints).
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2011, 06:37:18 PM »

^Its partly the money thing but alot of it is the fact that a printed out icon would probably draw less attention and create less issues if it is an issue.
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2011, 06:48:16 PM »

^Its partly the money thing but alot of it is the fact that a printed out icon would probably draw less attention and create less issues if it is an issue.

I think that's fine. Actually, I think it's quite humble to desire not to draw attention to your piety.

My only concern when people think about printing out their own icons is that they may think, since they just put them on some printer paper, they don't have to treat them like "real" icons. Except...they are real icons, and that small icon you printed out at home should receive the exact same veneration and respect as a life-sized gold leaf written by a master iconographer.
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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2011, 08:48:53 PM »

  Can you give some advice on what is the proper way to treat an icon?  (believe it or not it was not covered in my catechumen classes)  I have 3 icons so far, one my priest gave me a year ago, and 2 more i bought for the Lenten season.    I only currently have space for about 1-2 icons at a time, during Lent I kept up an icon of the Theotokos of the Passion, after Lent I put up Christ Pantocrator.   How should these icons be stored when not in use?
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« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2011, 09:19:34 PM »

so, an icon is an icon no matter when it is written/printed on?
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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2011, 09:28:17 PM »

so, an icon is an icon no matter when it is written/printed on?

I would say yes, but with the caveat that I would not kiss my computer screen. Nor would I reckon deleting a digital image as iconoclasm. I was taught that paper icons should not be thrown away, but recycled or burned respectfully.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 09:29:37 PM by Shanghaiski » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2011, 09:29:34 PM »

so, an icon is an icon no matter when it is written/printed on?

I would say yes, but with the caveat that I would not kiss my computer screen.

Would you kiss a piece of paper?
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« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2011, 09:31:55 PM »

so, an icon is an icon no matter when it is written/printed on?

I would say yes, but with the caveat that I would not kiss my computer screen.

Would you kiss a piece of paper?

I would certainly. It's not just a picture on a paper, but an icon. Same goes for books.
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« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2011, 09:38:48 PM »

there is nothing wrong with this.  that being said, I have been instructed that if I want to venerate an icon that's been printed, I should frame it and have it blessed.  I understand not wanting to draw attention to yourself, and this is a good way.  I've also read of pious Ukrainian faithful, during communism, having locked cabinets that have icons and lamps inside them.  hiding icons is something Orthodox have become good at over the years  Wink
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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2011, 09:40:52 PM »

so, an icon is an icon no matter when it is written/printed on?

I would say yes, but with the caveat that I would not kiss my computer screen.

Would you kiss a piece of paper?

I would certainly. It's not just a picture on a paper, but an icon. Same goes for books.

What is the reason for declaring the image on the paper to be an icon but not the image on the computer screen?
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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2011, 09:50:17 PM »

so, an icon is an icon no matter when it is written/printed on?

I would say yes, but with the caveat that I would not kiss my computer screen.

Would you kiss a piece of paper?

I would certainly. It's not just a picture on a paper, but an icon. Same goes for books.

What is the reason for declaring the image on the paper to be an icon but not the image on the computer screen?

Well, quite practically, it is more tangible to me, more portable, and more permanent--it doesn't turn off and on. It is "finished," so to speak. To me, an icon on a screen is not "realized."
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2011, 09:56:06 PM »

Most of the icons you can purchase (the affordable ones, anyway) are printed on paper and mounted on wood, so I don't see any issue with printing them out yourself.
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« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2011, 10:00:54 PM »

I would have to agree.  I have many photos of icons on my hard drive, but, that's all they are - photos of icons.  I cannot have them blessed, nor can I light a candle before them.

I once heard a story about a priest who went to visit an old monk.  I can't remember the details, but, it went something like....the priest entered the older man's room and saw that on the wall was hanging a "paper" icon ....  held up by tape....corners curling....and the candle stand was nothing more than a tin cup.  The priest was humbled by the monk's piousness....and it went to show that even the simple, paper print icon....is still an icon....and may be more of an "icon" than some fancy ones that adorn people's walls....and instead of being "icons" are merely pieces of art to them.

It's all in how you view it and what your intentions are towards it.  

Just remember to treat even paper icons with due respect.  

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« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2011, 10:15:42 PM »

 Can you give some advice on what is the proper way to treat an icon?  (believe it or not it was not covered in my catechumen classes)  I have 3 icons so far, one my priest gave me a year ago, and 2 more i bought for the Lenten season.    I only currently have space for about 1-2 icons at a time, during Lent I kept up an icon of the Theotokos of the Passion, after Lent I put up Christ Pantocrator.   How should these icons be stored when not in use?

There are plenty here that have more experience and could improve on my "Icon Treatment 101", but the tradition I've received is:

- Never set them so they face down (such as on a table). Practical reasons notwithstanding, like if you need to work on the back of the icon for some reason (for mounting, etc.)

-When you carry them, do so that they face outward, holding them underneath with both hands (kind of like cradling a baby). [EDIT: This would obviously be awkward for an icon on paper and unframed. Hold it respectfully on either side, and do your best to not have your hands/fingers over the actual image of the saint depicted. Actually, it's a good rule to try to not cover an icon. There are some exceptions to this (e.g., at a vigil service for the glorification of a saint, the newly-comissioned icon is laid on the central analogion and covered with a cloth until the magnification...IIRC).]

-Never clean them with chemicals. The most traditional method is with natural rose water.

-There is nothing wrong with storing them, just do so respectfully. Face them outward in a cabinet if you can. If not, it's okay to stack them in a box or something. Put a piece of fabric in-between them so they do not scratch each other.

-When handling an icon (for any reason), kiss it. This is usually done right after one picks up the icon or right before one sets it down.

-When disposing of an icon (indeed, any holy item), burn it respectfully, either on its own or with other holy objects until they are completely ashed. Then, bury the ashes in a small hole where they will not likely be walked upon. Many parishes will keep a bin for "holy trash" that will be periodically emptied and disposed of properly.

I'm sure there's a lot more out there...but these are the basic traditional practices that I have been taught.
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« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2011, 10:24:47 PM »

so, an icon is an icon no matter when it is written/printed on?

I would say yes, but with the caveat that I would not kiss my computer screen.

Would you kiss a piece of paper?

I would certainly. It's not just a picture on a paper, but an icon. Same goes for books.

What is the reason for declaring the image on the paper to be an icon but not the image on the computer screen?

Well, quite practically, it is more tangible to me, more portable, and more permanent--it doesn't turn off and on. It is "finished," so to speak. To me, an icon on a screen is not "realized."

Ah, ok.  Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2011, 10:37:31 PM »



-Never clean them with chemicals. The most traditional method is with natural rose water.


Since you mentioned printed icons on paper earlier in the longer version of your post I thought I would add this caveat: Don't use water near a printed icon unless it's framed behind glass.  I have one of the Theotokos where the glass in the frame broke and now the ink is running from a few times when I venerated the icon after getting water trapped in my mustache.
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« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2011, 11:23:02 PM »

so, an icon is an icon no matter when it is written/printed on?

I would say yes, but with the caveat that I would not kiss my computer screen. Nor would I reckon deleting a digital image as iconoclasm. I was taught that paper icons should not be thrown away, but recycled or burned respectfully.

Out of concern of this issue, my wife and I have been saving the programs we receive at each Sunday's Divine Liturgy because they invariably feature an icon on the cover as well as on the inner pages. Should we burn them? Maybe I should ask the priest about this.
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« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2011, 11:45:29 PM »

so, an icon is an icon no matter when it is written/printed on?

I would say yes, but with the caveat that I would not kiss my computer screen. Nor would I reckon deleting a digital image as iconoclasm. I was taught that paper icons should not be thrown away, but recycled or burned respectfully.

Out of concern of this issue, my wife and I have been saving the programs we receive at each Sunday's Divine Liturgy because they invariably feature an icon on the cover as well as on the inner pages. Should we burn them? Maybe I should ask the priest about this.


I would say burn them, in a place that won't be walked on--maybe in a woodstove or in a spot reserved for burning holy things--also old palm crosses, blessed flowers and fruit, etc.
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« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2011, 11:46:41 PM »

I have a "burn bag" near my icons that I put stuff in that needs to be burned. Stuff that would spoil, I put under a hedge. I don't bury it, just put it on the ground. Every Pascha there are red eggshells Smiley .
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« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2011, 07:09:21 AM »

Interesting- I was wondering about printed icons myself. I'm a newbie catechumen and have no icon corner yet, so I'm giving some thought to this matter at the moment.

The closest thing I have is a surface reserved for Christian books (e.g. Desert Fathers) on which I have put two images:
-A book-like hinged wooden picture with the Theotokos on one side and Christ on the other, which was given to me by an Anglican priest and which I have treasured ever since. It looks pretty Orthodox to me now that I've seen other Orthodox icons though... how can I tell?
-A postcard-type picture of Christ which was given to me in the street by a Mormon. I'm not overly fond of it as an image and am not interested in Mormonism, but it seemed wrong to just to throw an image of Christ in the recycling.

Should I burn the latter?
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« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2011, 12:48:56 PM »

Since you mentioned printed icons on paper earlier in the longer version of your post I thought I would add this caveat: Don't use water near a printed icon unless it's framed behind glass.  I have one of the Theotokos where the glass in the frame broke and now the ink is running from a few times when I venerated the icon after getting water trapped in my mustache.

Great caveat! Thank you for that!


Should I burn the latter?

I would not consider the Mormon picture of Christ to be, by any means, a canonical "icon" in the theological, liturgical sense of the word. I personally would not venerate it. However, in spite of the Mormon denial of the divinity of Christ, they are still depicting Him, even if they misunderstand. I would think that such a picture should probably be respected.

As for burning it? I could see arguments for either way. If you feel weird about just tossing it, then I don't see a problem with burning it in holy trash. You may also ask your priest his opinion. I'm actually curious to get clerical opinion on this, if any here would like to pipe up. I'll try to remember to ask my priest about this when I see him again. I'd like to know what he would say. Great question!
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« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2011, 03:21:11 PM »

Of the 10-12 icons we have around the house, only one is a mounted, monastic-produced icon. The rest are framed prints.

If you want to frame a print, or if you want to mount it on a piece of wood yourself, I think this website could be very useful.
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« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2011, 05:01:40 PM »

Someone asked me about Christmas stamps, of Virgin Mary. She won't throw the envelopes in the trash if her cards and letters come with it at Christmastime.
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« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2012, 04:32:45 AM »

Quote
I would not consider the Mormon picture of Christ to be, by any means, a canonical "icon" in the theological, liturgical sense of the word. I personally would not venerate it. However, in spite of the Mormon denial of the divinity of Christ, they are still depicting Him, even if they misunderstand. I would think that such a picture should probably be respected.

As for burning it? I could see arguments for either way. If you feel weird about just tossing it, then I don't see a problem with burning it in holy trash. You may also ask your priest his opinion. I'm actually curious to get clerical opinion on this, if any here would like to pipe up. I'll try to remember to ask my priest about this when I see him again. I'd like to know what he would say. Great question!

Been a year, but I finally got around to asking my priest. His advice was to put a match to it, or to bring it to church and let them burn it. He added that often he wouldn't worry too much about it, as these days there are so many periodicals, brochures, leaflets etc. with images of icons in them that you have to dispose of them quickly and without much ceremony.
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« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2012, 12:00:11 PM »

these days there are so many periodicals, brochures, leaflets etc. with images of icons in them that you have to dispose of them quickly and without much ceremony.

Sad but true.
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« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2012, 12:33:15 AM »

Why not keep an Icon book or binder? For example, like buy a large binder book that you can store pictures in and print out several Icon pictures and put them in the binder. Then when you want to venerate them or pray, you open up the binder and find the Icon in question.
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