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Author Topic: An icon question  (Read 865 times) Average Rating: 0
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Volnutt
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« on: June 03, 2011, 09:26:28 AM »

As I understand it, the pagan view of idols in the ancient world was that the wood and metal, etc. are not worshipped but rather they serve as a sort of locus for communication with and worship of the deity depicted, a spiritual conduit. I've read several times that an icon is a "window to Heaven," veneration of it passes to the subject depicted, the icon represents the subject's invisible presence, etc.

So my question is how do icons differ from ancient idols, especially icons of Christ because you are using them to not venerate but actually worship Him?
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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2011, 09:47:03 AM »

As I understand it, the pagan view of idols in the ancient world was that the wood and metal, etc. are not worshipped but rather they serve as a sort of locus for communication with and worship of the deity depicted, a spiritual conduit. I've read several times that an icon is a "window to Heaven," veneration of it passes to the subject depicted, the icon represents the subject's invisible presence, etc.

So my question is how do icons differ from ancient idols, especially icons of Christ because you are using them to not venerate but actually worship Him?

You seem to have answered your own question; they differ because the object of worship differs. Please note that we worship God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We do not worship but venerate the saints depicted on icons.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 09:48:25 AM by Second Chance » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2011, 09:52:08 AM »

So my question is how do icons differ from ancient idols, especially icons of Christ because you are using them to not venerate but actually worship Him?

I guees the answer would be the difference between Christ and the pagan gods. Christ is our true God by Whom all things were made and without Whom nothing was made that was made, definitely worthy of worship. Pagan gods are products of the human imagination at best and demons at worst, either way not worthy of worship.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Volnutt
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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2011, 10:47:10 AM »

Please note that we worship God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We do not worship but venerate the saints depicted on icons.
I know.


But if then icons, for simplicity's sake we can restrict the conversation to icons of Christ, really are in a sense "Christian idols," doesn't this violate God's commandment not to worship Him as the heathens do their gods?
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 10:47:45 AM by Volnutt » Logged
Orest
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2011, 11:14:13 AM »

Icons are not "graven images" condemned in the Old Testament.
Also the idols of pagan gods were just that: pagan gods and not the true Living God of the Trinity.
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sainthieu
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2011, 01:34:49 PM »

But if then icons, for simplicity's sake we can restrict the conversation to icons of Christ, really are in a sense "Christian idols," doesn't this violate God's commandment not to worship Him as the heathens do their gods?

The image of Christ is not an idol: it's more like a family photo. We don't worship an icon; we venerate an icon. We kiss it and speak to it as we would speak to a beloved relative--a Father, for example.

According to Orthodox theology, it is logical to represent Christ in an image because He manifested Himself as a human being at a specific place and time and, thus, was seen in the flesh by many other human beings: His face is known to us. In fact, an acceptance of icons is required of the Orthodox because it affirms our belief in His complete, undilute, manifestation as a human being: wholly God and wholly human, in hypostatic union.

Before Jesus was manifest, God forbid graven images of Himself because no one had ever seen Him. Any attempt at representing Him could only be an illusion and could only serve to diminish Him and place Him on the same level as, for example, animistic fetishes. He was drawing a firm distinction between Himself--"I AM"--and early mankind's superstitious imaginings.

That said, I'd suggest that the ways of worshipping Him 'as the heathens do' are far more numerous and subtle than can be discussed here. Books could be written about the subject.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 01:49:21 PM by sainthieu » Logged
Volnutt
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2011, 10:14:31 PM »

Thanks for the responses.
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Malina
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« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2011, 02:11:33 AM »

When we are looking to image depicted on icon we must think about prototype. So icons can help for better concentration before God.
Orthodox Christians don’t venerate to paint or glass but venerate before Saints.
We can worship ONLY to ONE LIVING GOD in Spirit and Truth.
I have heard many reproaches from Protestants against icons and I can’t agree with them. The most powerful argument against above mentioned subject is the following.
When Protestants start to reproof for usage of icons they usually use on of the Commandment of God, to wit
You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
If it is strictly had need said that you shall not make any images and likeness of anything is in heaven above or in the earth beneath, then why Protestants use photos and pictures in common life? Everyone has got photos of beloved people and relatives, and sometimes can even kiss a photo.
Quite frankly for some people icons can be an idol because of misuse of it, for example when people concentrate on external implementation of common customs, but it is the other subject of discussion.
In my opinion to right use of icons in not a sin and also disuse of icons is not a sin.
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Volnutt
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« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2011, 05:52:48 AM »

and also disuse of icons is not a sin.

You mean, "is a sin," right?

Thanks for the helpful response.
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