Author Topic: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?  (Read 444 times)

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Online LivenotoneviL

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Here's an interesting question.

Where I go to University, there is a Greek Orthodox Church which has stained glass windows of the Saints, and while I think they are really beautiful, particularly in terms of the vibrant colors that are made present through the light, which I think is a beautiful metaphor for how Christ impacts our lives - but I know some of my friends really don't like it.

What are your thoughts, particularly in jurisdictions where they can be prevalent, like the Carpatho-Russian diocese or ROCOR? Do they conflict with the painted iconography in the Church, or not? Can they be used as icons?
« Last Edit: July 04, 2018, 03:58:23 PM by LivenotoneviL »
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Offline Alpha60

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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2018, 04:10:43 PM »
Here's an interesting question.

Where I go to University, there is a Greek Orthodox Church which has stained glass windows of the Saints, and while I think they are really beautiful, particularly in terms of the vibrant colors that are made present through the light, which I think is a beautiful metaphor for how Christ impacts our lives - but I know some of my friends really don't like it.

What are your thoughts, particularly in jurisdictions where they can be prevalent, like the Carpatho-Russian diocese or ROCOR? Do they conflict with the painted iconography in the Church, or not? Can they be used as icons?

I think they are one of the best forms of icons, and should be used more extensively in future Orthodox churches.   They have one downside and that is they become dark at night.  One could hypothetically use spotlights to backlight them, but that would be expensive and troublesome.

In Los Angeles, the Coptic Church of St. Mary and Athanasius has two identically sized chapels on two levels, with a two story, elevator-equipped narthex.  I think an ideal design would follow in this plan, with the upper level chapel used for services in daylight like typical Sunday liturgies, and the lower level used for Vespers, the Paschal liturgy and so on.  The upper level would make more extensive use of stained glass windows to admit light from the sides of the building, whereas the lower level would rely more on natural light and, like the chapel at St. Anthony’s in Arizona, be lit exclusively or primarily by candles, oil lamos and vigil lamps at night.

I am also a huge fan of iconography painted on the exterior of the church, and the use of electric lights, which in the case of new churches could in some cases be colored or feature sophisticated LED lighting, to illuminate them for dramatic effect.

Btw if anyone is interested I will share some of my sketches for new Orthodox churches.  The designs are highly traditional; the sole extent where there might be some departure involves areas like the configuration of the church or abbey or the use of stained glass windows.  I also have some sketches of planned conversions of certain mosques in Constantinople to churches, including the Blue Mosque, which I pray will some day by some miracle be a Church of the Holy Dormition.
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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2018, 04:28:59 PM »
I think it's not something contradicting the frecoes, but rather fullfilling them. At my parish there is e.g a beautfil stained glass icon on the right window presenting the resurrection of Lazarus (with the beginning of the troparion) and Christ laying in the tomb - these icons are not present in the frescoes of the church.
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Offline Sharbel

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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2018, 04:35:46 PM »
Very likely, in the Orthodox diaspora, the stained glass came with the church building when it was purchased or rented from another denomination.  It makes no sense to remove them, unless they affirm some heresy, when they could be covered.  It'd be better for the parish to raise funds to build an Orthodox church instead.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2018, 04:36:03 PM by Sharbel »
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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2018, 05:23:04 PM »
A problem with iconography on stained glass windows is that when viewed from the outside, the icon is backwards. So, for instance, an icon showing the crucifixion would have the good thief on the left side instead of the right.

One purpose of icons is to correctly teach through images. The icons are not there just to entertain us with pretty colors. There is meaning assigned to the placement of depicted items.  So, you would expect to see a holy hierarch holding the gospels in his left hand, and blessing with his right hand.  A reverse image would show him blessing with the left hand!  And, since canonical iconography also includes lettering identifying the icon, what about the names spelled backwards?  Backwards spelling and incantation is used in occult rituals.
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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2018, 05:24:46 PM »
A problem with iconography on stained glass windows is that when viewed from the outside, the icon is backwards. So, for instance, an icon showing the crucifixion would have the good thief on the left side instead of the right.

One purpose of icons is to correctly teach through images. The icons are not there just to entertain us with pretty colors. There is meaning assigned to the placement of depicted items.  So, you would expect to see a holy hierarch holding the gospels in his left hand, and blessing with his right hand.  A reverse image would show him blessing with the left hand!  And, since canonical iconography also includes lettering identifying the icon, what about the names spelled backwards?  Backwards spelling and incantation is used in occult rituals.
I don't know how it's done, but in much church the stained glass windows outside are quite dark, the icons of them are not seen.
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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2018, 06:12:22 PM »
A problem with iconography on stained glass windows is that when viewed from the outside, the icon is backwards. So, for instance, an icon showing the crucifixion would have the good thief on the left side instead of the right.

One purpose of icons is to correctly teach through images. The icons are not there just to entertain us with pretty colors. There is meaning assigned to the placement of depicted items.  So, you would expect to see a holy hierarch holding the gospels in his left hand, and blessing with his right hand.  A reverse image would show him blessing with the left hand!  And, since canonical iconography also includes lettering identifying the icon, what about the names spelled backwards?  Backwards spelling and incantation is used in occult rituals.
I don't know how it's done, but in much church the stained glass windows outside are quite dark, the icons of them are not seen.

At night time, stained glass windows can be seen quite brightly when the lights of the church are on.
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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2018, 06:16:50 PM »
A problem with iconography on stained glass windows is that when viewed from the outside, the icon is backwards. So, for instance, an icon showing the crucifixion would have the good thief on the left side instead of the right.

One purpose of icons is to correctly teach through images. The icons are not there just to entertain us with pretty colors. There is meaning assigned to the placement of depicted items.  So, you would expect to see a holy hierarch holding the gospels in his left hand, and blessing with his right hand.  A reverse image would show him blessing with the left hand!  And, since canonical iconography also includes lettering identifying the icon, what about the names spelled backwards?  Backwards spelling and incantation is used in occult rituals.

I shouldn’t worry about that, because stained glass windows are not canonical icons of the sort that are venerated, but are part of the decorative artwork of the church.  What is more, the problem you cite would only really be an issue if the church interior was brightly lit, at night.  Otherwise, during the day, the stained glass windows aren’t as easy to see from the outside.  There are also workarounds to the problems you cite, such as using iconographic subjects that are reversible, or engaging in some careful glasswork so that, in the case of the Holy Hierarch, the orientation would appear to be correct when viewed from either side, but in my view they are uneccessary, since stained glass windows require backlighting to be seen clearly, and that means that during the day, they will be primarily visible from the inside.

As far as the issue of occult rituals is concerned, I categorically refuse to accuse the large number of Orthodox churches that have stained glass windows of engaging in the occult.  What is more, candles , incense, and flowers are also used in occult rituals, very heavily; should we therefore ban them? 
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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2018, 06:22:06 PM »
A problem with iconography on stained glass windows is that when viewed from the outside, the icon is backwards. So, for instance, an icon showing the crucifixion would have the good thief on the left side instead of the right.

One purpose of icons is to correctly teach through images. The icons are not there just to entertain us with pretty colors. There is meaning assigned to the placement of depicted items.  So, you would expect to see a holy hierarch holding the gospels in his left hand, and blessing with his right hand.  A reverse image would show him blessing with the left hand!  And, since canonical iconography also includes lettering identifying the icon, what about the names spelled backwards?  Backwards spelling and incantation is used in occult rituals.
I don't know how it's done, but in much church the stained glass windows outside are quite dark, the icons of them are not seen.

At night time, stained glass windows can be seen quite brightly when the lights of the church are on.

For which I presented an architectural solution; also, such brightness requires the church to have electric lighting on at full power.  If one used candles, oil lamps amd vigil lamps only, like the Catholikon at St. Anthony’s monastery, this problem literally disappears.

Stained glass windows are clearly visible only when brightly backlit.   For nighttime services, I dislike bright electric lighting immensely; it just doesn’t look good, it’s almost a waste.  Once one has experienced the beauty of a liturgy in a darkened church, one will not want to go back to the abuse of electric lighting, except for emergency lights to facilitate ease of evacuation in the event of a fire, earthquake, et cetera.
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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2018, 06:33:49 PM »
I don't know how it's done, but in much church the stained glass windows outside are quite dark, the icons of them are not seen.

At night time, stained glass windows can be seen quite brightly when the lights of the church are on.
Brightly?  No.  The windows are usually far from the church lights and they are not that bright.  And even if the icons can be seen dimly, so what?  What if the icons are flipped when seen from outside for a few hours a week?  How damaging can it be?
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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2018, 06:38:23 PM »
I don't know how it's done, but in much church the stained glass windows outside are quite dark, the icons of them are not seen.

At night time, stained glass windows can be seen quite brightly when the lights of the church are on.
Brightly?  No.  The windows are usually far from the church lights and they are not that bright.  And even if the icons can be seen dimly, so what?  What if the icons are flipped when seen from outside for a few hours a week?  How damaging can it be?

If you do crank up the electric lights in the church to full power, at night, which I object to as I think nighttime services should rely on candlelight and vigil lamps, and oil lamps, it will backlight the stained glass windows with dramatic effect.  But the solution is easy: just don’t do that.
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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2018, 06:58:45 PM »
I don't have time to find better pictures, but I want to show how it works in my church:
Here, inside, you see the icon:


Outside the same icon on the window it's dark:


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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2018, 09:08:43 PM »
My parish has lots of stained glass windows, mostly with icons of saints.
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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2018, 09:08:48 PM »
I don't have time to find better pictures, but I want to show how it works in my church:
Here, inside, you see the icon:


Outside the same icon on the window it's dark:




That is so beautiful.
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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2018, 10:43:47 PM »
I don't know how it's done, but in much church the stained glass windows outside are quite dark, the icons of them are not seen.

At night time, stained glass windows can be seen quite brightly when the lights of the church are on.
Brightly?  No.  The windows are usually far from the church lights and they are not that bright.  And even if the icons can be seen dimly, so what?  What if the icons are flipped when seen from outside for a few hours a week?  How damaging can it be?

If you do crank up the electric lights in the church to full power, at night, which I object to as I think nighttime services should rely on candlelight and vigil lamps, and oil lamps, it will backlight the stained glass windows with dramatic effect.  But the solution is easy: just don’t do that.

I'm talking from experience with Roman Catholic churches; I haven't been to the downtown area where that Greek Orthodox Church is at night. I don't like walking around the middle of an urban area when it's dark out.
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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2018, 12:38:09 AM »
I think that many of the forms of religious art sometimes hop right across jurisdictional lines because people like pretty things.
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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2018, 12:50:04 AM »
I don't know how it's done, but in much church the stained glass windows outside are quite dark, the icons of them are not seen.

At night time, stained glass windows can be seen quite brightly when the lights of the church are on.
Brightly?  No.  The windows are usually far from the church lights and they are not that bright.  And even if the icons can be seen dimly, so what?  What if the icons are flipped when seen from outside for a few hours a week?  How damaging can it be?

If you do crank up the electric lights in the church to full power, at night, which I object to as I think nighttime services should rely on candlelight and vigil lamps, and oil lamps, it will backlight the stained glass windows with dramatic effect.  But the solution is easy: just don’t do that.

I'm talking from experience with Roman Catholic churches; I haven't been to the downtown area where that Greek Orthodox Church is at night. I don't like walking around the middle of an urban area when it's dark out.

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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2018, 06:15:34 AM »
A problem with iconography on stained glass windows is that when viewed from the outside, the icon is backwards. So, for instance, an icon showing the crucifixion would have the good thief on the left side instead of the right.

One purpose of icons is to correctly teach through images. The icons are not there just to entertain us with pretty colors. There is meaning assigned to the placement of depicted items.  So, you would expect to see a holy hierarch holding the gospels in his left hand, and blessing with his right hand.  A reverse image would show him blessing with the left hand!  And, since canonical iconography also includes lettering identifying the icon, what about the names spelled backwards?

Nobody looks at stained glass windows from the outside expecting to be instructed by them. Most stained glass windows are not really viewable from the outside anyway.

 
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Backwards spelling and incantation is used in occult rituals.

Only in 80’s Satanic panic “reports” and metal records.

Also, technically, the Divine Liturgy is an occult ritual.
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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2018, 06:39:28 AM »
A problem with iconography on stained glass windows is that when viewed from the outside, the icon is backwards. So, for instance, an icon showing the crucifixion would have the good thief on the left side instead of the right.

One purpose of icons is to correctly teach through images. The icons are not there just to entertain us with pretty colors. There is meaning assigned to the placement of depicted items.  So, you would expect to see a holy hierarch holding the gospels in his left hand, and blessing with his right hand.  A reverse image would show him blessing with the left hand!  And, since canonical iconography also includes lettering identifying the icon, what about the names spelled backwards?  Backwards spelling and incantation is used in occult rituals.

I would expect people to have at least a smidgen of common sense and recognise the reverse side of a work of art or craft when they see it. Just because both sides can be visible doesn't mean that it doesn't matter which side you look at. Otherwise it would be perfectly acceptable to wear our clothes inside out too.
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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2018, 06:58:32 AM »
A problem with iconography on stained glass windows is that when viewed from the outside, the icon is backwards. So, for instance, an icon showing the crucifixion would have the good thief on the left side instead of the right.

One purpose of icons is to correctly teach through images. The icons are not there just to entertain us with pretty colors. There is meaning assigned to the placement of depicted items.  So, you would expect to see a holy hierarch holding the gospels in his left hand, and blessing with his right hand.  A reverse image would show him blessing with the left hand!  And, since canonical iconography also includes lettering identifying the icon, what about the names spelled backwards?

Nobody looks at stained glass windows from the outside expecting to be instructed by them. Most stained glass windows are not really viewable from the outside anyway.

 
Quote
Backwards spelling and incantation is used in occult rituals.

Only in 80’s Satanic panic “reports” and metal records.

Also, technically, the Divine Liturgy is an occult ritual.

A problem with iconography on stained glass windows is that when viewed from the outside, the icon is backwards. So, for instance, an icon showing the crucifixion would have the good thief on the left side instead of the right.

One purpose of icons is to correctly teach through images. The icons are not there just to entertain us with pretty colors. There is meaning assigned to the placement of depicted items.  So, you would expect to see a holy hierarch holding the gospels in his left hand, and blessing with his right hand.  A reverse image would show him blessing with the left hand!  And, since canonical iconography also includes lettering identifying the icon, what about the names spelled backwards?  Backwards spelling and incantation is used in occult rituals.

I would expect people to have at least a smidgen of common sense and recognise the reverse side of a work of art or craft when they see it. Just because both sides can be visible doesn't mean that it doesn't matter which side you look at. Otherwise it would be perfectly acceptable to wear our clothes inside out too.

Thank you for your contributions here, I feel obliged to +100000000 you.
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This signature is not intended to offend any user, nor the relatives of Discovery 1 deputy commander Dr. Frank Poole,  and crew members Dr. Victor Kaminsky, Dr. Jack Kimball, and Dr. Charles Hunter.

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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2018, 03:07:48 PM »
Only in 80’s Satanic panic “reports” and metal records.

Also, technically, the Divine Liturgy is an occult ritual.

 :o :o :o

I see what you are trying to say, as in the Divine Liturgy an invocation of the Supernatural occurs, and a miracle happens, but nonetheless, I think there's a massive difference. The "occult" usually has negative connotations, whose invocation of the supernatural - from a Christian perspective - is the invocation of demons rather than God, usually for the benefit of a person's material life or selfish benefit rather than spiritual progress, or Theosis.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2018, 03:09:26 PM by LivenotoneviL »
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LivenotoneviL: yeah right get behind me satan

Exposed demon: oh no my cover is blown!

May God one day unite me with the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church. And may God forgive me for my consistent sins of the flesh and any blasphemous and carnal desire, as well as forgive me whenever I act prideful, against the desire of Christ.

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2018, 03:34:31 PM »
Only in 80’s Satanic panic “reports” and metal records.

Also, technically, the Divine Liturgy is an occult ritual.

 :o :o :o

I see what you are trying to say, as in the Divine Liturgy an invocation of the Supernatural occurs, and a miracle happens, but nonetheless, I think there's a massive difference. The "occult" usually has negative connotations, whose invocation of the supernatural - from a Christian perspective - is the invocation of demons rather than God, usually for the benefit of a person's material life or selfish benefit rather than spiritual progress, or Theosis.
I think he's using the idea of "mystery". In a weird and excessively denotative way, but that's it...
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

Anyhow when God was asked he said Eastern Orthodox is true Church and not Catholic Church. So come home and enjoy.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #22 on: July 05, 2018, 04:29:59 PM »
I think because of the popularity of Christianity it is easy to lose track of the fact that the eucharist is a sacred mystery uniting us with God, reserved for initiates (the baptized), and much of which we now perform openly- and which therefore seems quotidian and humdrum, if we're not careful- was jealously guarded in the first centuries of the Church. So I don't think I'm being unduly denotative- Western esotericism is a project desperately trying, and failing, to capture this mystery spirit. Everything they're looking for- insofar as they are looking for something profound and majestic- is in the divine liturgy, though we Christians unfortunately fail to appreciate it. All the summonings and statue animations of neoplatonist theurgy pale compared to the awesomeness of God uniting himself to us in his body and blood, but they are reaching for the same thing. St Dionysius the Areopagite clearly senses this parallel.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2018, 04:36:08 PM by Iconodule »
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Offline hecma925

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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2018, 04:37:01 PM »
"I will not speak of the Mystery to Thine enemies..."
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

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Offline Alpha60

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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #24 on: July 05, 2018, 05:08:05 PM »
"I will not speak of the Mystery to Thine enemies..."

I’ve often wondered what exactly this promise imposes on us today, particularly in the context of evangelization, and given the extent to which our liturgy is now public and accessible to the public.

Personally, I have felt as though based on this promise I should not discuss supernatural or miraculous occurrences during any part of the liturgy of the Church, past or present, third party accounts or first hand experiences, with anyone who is apostate or a heathen.  I once inadvertantly commented, on another forum, about something related to the Eucharist, and then it became evident this person had some seriously dark beliefs.  I also feel its a bit pointless to discuss things such as myrhh streaming icons or the ability of the sign of the cross to dispel demons with hardened rationalist Protestants, because they won’t believe it, and if anything it might harden their hearts against our faith.  Regarding first hand experiences, I usually only discuss those in person with known Orthodox or enquirers who I am certain are not enemies, but who rather are attracted by these aspects of our faith.
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #25 on: July 05, 2018, 05:26:09 PM »
I think because of the popularity of Christianity it is easy to lose track of the fact that the eucharist is a sacred mystery uniting us with God, reserved for initiates (the baptized), and much of which we now perform openly- and which therefore seems quotidian and humdrum, if we're not careful- was jealously guarded in the first centuries of the Church. So I don't think I'm being unduly denotative- Western esotericism is a project desperately trying, and failing, to capture this mystery spirit. Everything they're looking for- insofar as they are looking for something profound and majestic- is in the divine liturgy, though we Christians unfortunately fail to appreciate it. All the summonings and statue animations of neoplatonist theurgy pale compared to the awesomeness of God uniting himself to us in his body and blood, but they are reaching for the same thing. St Dionysius the Areopagite clearly senses this parallel.
I guess you're right.
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

Anyhow when God was asked he said Eastern Orthodox is true Church and not Catholic Church. So come home and enjoy.

Offline hecma925

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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #26 on: July 05, 2018, 05:55:36 PM »
"I will not speak of the Mystery to Thine enemies..."

I’ve often wondered what exactly this promise imposes on us today

Liars still go to hell.
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

Once Christ has filled the Cross, it can never be empty again.

"But God doesn't need your cookies!  Arrive on time!"

Offline Sethrak

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Re: Opinion on Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches?
« Reply #27 on: July 05, 2018, 06:19:25 PM »
Stained Glass Windows in Eastern Orthodox Churches ~ all that I've seen are well done, beautiful and appropriate ```