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Author Topic: The Sacred Heart as I know it.  (Read 21221 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #225 on: October 10, 2011, 08:06:26 PM »

From the blog that Dcn Lance linked to:
Quote
In the icon, besides the traditional MR ZY that indicates Maria's Divine Maternity two inscriptions have been written. The superior indicates the title of the icon: image of the Holiest Virgin of Fátima. The lower left one, in bigger characters, says “Toboiu Edinstbo” that means in you the Unity.

The latter expression reminds us the ecumenical vocation of the Icon, which has been written uniting the efforts of a catholic priest and an orthodox iconographer, trying to create an image before which catholic and orthodox faithful could pray together. In her two types of important ecumenisms are expressed. The ecumenism of the Heart of Maria and the ecumenism of the martyrdom, both very related to Fátima's message.

My suspicions have been verified. Shame on the Orthodox iconographer who painted this work. He should have known better.

Known better?

Yes, he should have known better. The responsibility of an Orthodox iconographer is to paint according to what the Orthodox Church teaches, not according to his own imagination, or to serve other causes, however noble or well-intentioned, such as "creating an image before which catholic and orthodox faithful could pray together". This iconographer has painted an image which has no place in Orthodox tradition or devotion. The painting of this image is no less a violation of iconographic principles than if a hymnographer wrote a troparion, kontakion and canon to the immaculate heart, expecting it to be sung in Orthodox churches.

Icons are painted with prayer and fasting. What was he doing when he was painting this image? Was he praying "Most-holy Mother of God of Fatima, save us"? Did he receive a blessing from his priest or bishop to paint such an image?
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« Reply #226 on: October 10, 2011, 09:04:15 PM »

J Michael wrote:

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Most, but certainly not *all* of the icons of the Theotokos I have seen have her clothed in red or burgundy.  Most, but certainly not *all* of the icons of her that I've seen have also an image of Christ, i.e. this one which I found *very* quickly: http://skete.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=176&Category_ID=27.

The icon in the link is not intended to be a stand-alone icon, but is a panel in a series, known as Deesis/Supplication/Tchin. These series consist of a minimum of Christ at the centre, in frontal pose, with the Mother of God on the left and St John the Baptist on the right, in the deferential, supplicatory pose. Longer series would then include the archangels Michael and Gabriel, the apostles Peter and Paul, or an assortment of other saints.

As we can see, Christ is present in the Deesis series, of which the Mother of God is a part. The principle stands.
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« Reply #227 on: October 10, 2011, 10:03:13 PM »

yes, she is always bowing to her left, as she is to the right hand of Christ.
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« Reply #228 on: October 10, 2011, 10:16:34 PM »


The icon in the link is not intended to be a stand-alone icon, but is a panel in a series, known as Deesis/Supplication/Tchin. These series consist of a minimum of Christ at the centre, in frontal pose, with the Mother of God on the left and St John the Baptist on the right, in the deferential, supplicatory pose. Longer series would then include the archangels Michael and Gabriel, the apostles Peter and Paul, or an assortment of other saints.

As we can see, Christ is present in the Deesis series, of which the Mother of God is a part. The principle stands.

That the Mother of God with Christ is the most common icon is true, but there are certainly other icons with the Mother of God alone, some miracle working.  The Pokrova and the Joy of Joys come to mind foremost.
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« Reply #229 on: October 11, 2011, 02:41:16 AM »

Quote
The Pokrova and the Joy of Joys come to mind foremost.

On the Pokrov icons:

This icon depicts a historical event, where the Virgin appeared at the church at Blachernae. However, in the upper border of the icon, or directly above the figure of the Mother of God, there is a motif of Christ, surrounded by a radiance (mandorla) of Uncreated Light, with His right hand raised in blessing. The same goes for the icon Bogolyubskaya, which commemorates the appearance of the Virgin to Prince Andrei Bogolyubskiy. In these icons, Christ in glory is seen blessing His mother, and the other figures in the icon, in the upper corner facing the Virgin.

Here is but one example, I have many more on file:



On the Joy of Joys, also known as Seraphim-Diveyevo:

The Virgin is shown alone, with her eyes downcast, and her arms crossed over her chest, or clasped in the western attitude of prayer. This, and other imagery, had its origins in the Roman Catholic world, which infiltrated regions further east through the proximity of geography.

The almost complete takeover of traditional iconography by naturalistic religious art, such as that of the European Renaissance, over several centuries, across all the Orthodox world, from as early as the sixteenth century, is not in doubt. Much of this was due to official patronage of this “new” religious art, be it by nobles, kings, or emperors of countries where Orthodoxy was the dominant faith. There was no separation of Church and State – indeed, the king/emperor/tsar was a kind of earthly representative of the Church. To this day, the affectionate titles for a Russian priest and his wife are Batiushka and Matushka (Little Father, Little Mother). The same titles were used for the Tsars and Tsarinas of imperial Russia. History shows that many rulers of Orthodox countries, for better and worse, adopted (willingly or otherwise) western customs and mores, and imposed them on their nations or empires. In Russia, this led to the founding of state-sponsored iconographic workshops, which promoted the highly naturalistic “Synodal” or “Academic” styles. The “iconography” of the Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Savior, commissioned in the 1820s, reflects the almost complete dominance of western imagery over traditional iconography.

Greece, the other center of Orthodoxy, was not immune from extraneous influences. The Venetians colonized large areas of the Greek mainland, and many of its islands, prior, or during, the Ottoman period. The Cretan School produced some of the most sublime and reverent iconography anywhere, but, unfortunately, eventually descended into an imitation of renaissance art, losing its liturgical and theological integrity.

Keeping this in mind, and that of traveled iconographers themselves incorporating elements of western art in their works, is it any wonder that western forms of religious art soon became the norm? We have the examples of Sts Seraphim of Sarov and Nektarios of Aegina and their veneration of images we know to be suspect. But, are we to condemn these holy men? Are we to say that their sanctity is in question? Of course not. The fact is, that they had little choice but to venerate such images, as these images were everywhere. The hallowed ground of Mt Athos was not immune from these influences – indeed, there is, to this day, a profusion of suspect and uncanonical images on the walls of many of its monasteries. These include Trinities showing God the Father as a bearded old man, eyes in triangles, and other imagery which is contrary to Orthodox doctrine and theology. The people of Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Romania, and other nations in eastern Europe on the border of Orthodox East and Roman Catholic West similarly were surrounded by heterodox images, in all innocence. Can we blame them for holding their beloved Ostrobramskaya, Akhtirskaya, and Diveyevo icons to their hearts?

So where does this leave us? God is entitled to choose to work His grace through imperfect vessels, be they human beings, or an imperfectly-mounted printed icon (the recent myrrh-streaming icon of St Nicholas, or the Hawaii-Iveron Mother of God), or an image that falls short of canonical guidelines. As He accepts and loves us, despite our multitude of sins and faults, so He has accepted these imperfect images. However, we are also expected to do what we can to “get right” with God. In terms of iconography, these days, we can no longer claim ignorance of canon, scripture or liturgical deposit. It is increasingly difficult to claim illiteracy, geographic and cultural isolation for the perpetuation of images deficient or contrary to Orthodox doctrine and theology. It grieves me that certain people who conduct well-patronised classes in icon painting continue to promote uncanonical and deficient images. I am not convinced that this is being done in honest ignorance.

On the other hand, I am heartened that some iconographers are painting “corrective” motifs on their copies of historic but deficient images, such as ensuring the Mother of God bears the three stars of perpetual virginity, that a motif of Christ or the OT Holy Trinity, instead of God the Father, is in the upper border of a Kursk-Root or Derzhavnaya icon of the Mother of God. I have also seen the removal of NT Trinities and eyes in triangles from prominent positions in some Orthodox churches in the city where I live. All these are welcome steps in the right direction.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 02:41:48 AM by LBK » Logged
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« Reply #230 on: October 11, 2011, 10:25:03 AM »

Quote
The Pokrova and the Joy of Joys come to mind foremost.

On the Pokrov icons:

This icon depicts a historical event, where the Virgin appeared at the church at Blachernae. However, in the upper border of the icon, or directly above the figure of the Mother of God, there is a motif of Christ, surrounded by a radiance (mandorla) of Uncreated Light, with His right hand raised in blessing. The same goes for the icon Bogolyubskaya, which commemorates the appearance of the Virgin to Prince Andrei Bogolyubskiy. In these icons, Christ in glory is seen blessing His mother, and the other figures in the icon, in the upper corner facing the Virgin.

Here is but one example, I have many more on file:



On the Joy of Joys, also known as Seraphim-Diveyevo:

The Virgin is shown alone, with her eyes downcast, and her arms crossed over her chest, or clasped in the western attitude of prayer. This, and other imagery, had its origins in the Roman Catholic world, which infiltrated regions further east through the proximity of geography.

The almost complete takeover of traditional iconography by naturalistic religious art, such as that of the European Renaissance, over several centuries, across all the Orthodox world, from as early as the sixteenth century, is not in doubt. Much of this was due to official patronage of this “new” religious art, be it by nobles, kings, or emperors of countries where Orthodoxy was the dominant faith. There was no separation of Church and State – indeed, the king/emperor/tsar was a kind of earthly representative of the Church. To this day, the affectionate titles for a Russian priest and his wife are Batiushka and Matushka (Little Father, Little Mother). The same titles were used for the Tsars and Tsarinas of imperial Russia. History shows that many rulers of Orthodox countries, for better and worse, adopted (willingly or otherwise) western customs and mores, and imposed them on their nations or empires. In Russia, this led to the founding of state-sponsored iconographic workshops, which promoted the highly naturalistic “Synodal” or “Academic” styles. The “iconography” of the Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Savior, commissioned in the 1820s, reflects the almost complete dominance of western imagery over traditional iconography.

Greece, the other center of Orthodoxy, was not immune from extraneous influences. The Venetians colonized large areas of the Greek mainland, and many of its islands, prior, or during, the Ottoman period. The Cretan School produced some of the most sublime and reverent iconography anywhere, but, unfortunately, eventually descended into an imitation of renaissance art, losing its liturgical and theological integrity.

Keeping this in mind, and that of traveled iconographers themselves incorporating elements of western art in their works, is it any wonder that western forms of religious art soon became the norm? We have the examples of Sts Seraphim of Sarov and Nektarios of Aegina and their veneration of images we know to be suspect. But, are we to condemn these holy men? Are we to say that their sanctity is in question? Of course not. The fact is, that they had little choice but to venerate such images, as these images were everywhere. The hallowed ground of Mt Athos was not immune from these influences – indeed, there is, to this day, a profusion of suspect and uncanonical images on the walls of many of its monasteries. These include Trinities showing God the Father as a bearded old man, eyes in triangles, and other imagery which is contrary to Orthodox doctrine and theology. The people of Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Romania, and other nations in eastern Europe on the border of Orthodox East and Roman Catholic West similarly were surrounded by heterodox images, in all innocence. Can we blame them for holding their beloved Ostrobramskaya, Akhtirskaya, and Diveyevo icons to their hearts?

So where does this leave us? God is entitled to choose to work His grace through imperfect vessels, be they human beings, or an imperfectly-mounted printed icon (the recent myrrh-streaming icon of St Nicholas, or the Hawaii-Iveron Mother of God), or an image that falls short of canonical guidelines. As He accepts and loves us, despite our multitude of sins and faults, so He has accepted these imperfect images. However, we are also expected to do what we can to “get right” with God. In terms of iconography, these days, we can no longer claim ignorance of canon, scripture or liturgical deposit. It is increasingly difficult to claim illiteracy, geographic and cultural isolation for the perpetuation of images deficient or contrary to Orthodox doctrine and theology. It grieves me that certain people who conduct well-patronised classes in icon painting continue to promote uncanonical and deficient images. I am not convinced that this is being done in honest ignorance.

On the other hand, I am heartened that some iconographers are painting “corrective” motifs on their copies of historic but deficient images, such as ensuring the Mother of God bears the three stars of perpetual virginity, that a motif of Christ or the OT Holy Trinity, instead of God the Father, is in the upper border of a Kursk-Root or Derzhavnaya icon of the Mother of God. I have also seen the removal of NT Trinities and eyes in triangles from prominent positions in some Orthodox churches in the city where I live. All these are welcome steps in the right direction.


Thanks for the information!   Smiley

I'm still curious to know what makes an icon "canonical" or not.  Also, if an icon is somehow "deficient" does that render it useless in terms of veneration, and if so, why?  Would an Orthodox Christian, for example, be guilty of some kind of error ("sin" is much too strong a word, I think) if he/she were to piously venerate the icon we've been discussing?  Would it somehow render their veneration null and void?

I ask about the "canonical-ness" of icons because I know that in Orthodoxy, the canons seem to have a relatively high level of, shall we say, flexibility.  That is, they are "enforced" or not and to varying degree depending upon who is doing the "enforcing" (for lack of a better word at the moment), what or who is being "enforced", and many other factors and nuances of any given situation.  So, with regard to icons, I'm interested in knowing how that may all play out.

By the way, I appreciate your willingness to discuss this and provide answers that are actually informative!
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« Reply #231 on: October 11, 2011, 11:31:40 AM »

From the blog that Dcn Lance linked to:
Quote
In the icon, besides the traditional MR ZY that indicates Maria's Divine Maternity two inscriptions have been written. The superior indicates the title of the icon: image of the Holiest Virgin of Fátima. The lower left one, in bigger characters, says “Toboiu Edinstbo” that means in you the Unity.

The latter expression reminds us the ecumenical vocation of the Icon, which has been written uniting the efforts of a catholic priest and an orthodox iconographer, trying to create an image before which catholic and orthodox faithful could pray together. In her two types of important ecumenisms are expressed. The ecumenism of the Heart of Maria and the ecumenism of the martyrdom, both very related to Fátima's message.

My suspicions have been verified. Shame on the Orthodox iconographer who painted this work. He should have known better.

Known better?

Yes, he should have known better. The responsibility of an Orthodox iconographer is to paint according to what the Orthodox Church teaches, not according to his own imagination, or to serve other causes, however noble or well-intentioned, such as "creating an image before which catholic and orthodox faithful could pray together". This iconographer has painted an image which has no place in Orthodox tradition or devotion. The painting of this image is no less a violation of iconographic principles than if a hymnographer wrote a troparion, kontakion and canon to the immaculate heart, expecting it to be sung in Orthodox churches.

Icons are painted with prayer and fasting. What was he doing when he was painting this image? Was he praying "Most-holy Mother of God of Fatima, save us"? Did he receive a blessing from his priest or bishop to paint such an image?

Perhaps he was praying, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."   Wink

Is he required to have a blessing from his priest or bishop to paint "such an image"?  And if so, and he did not have the blessing, does that make him a greater sinner or somehow invalidate the icon, which has already been said to be deficient, anyway?

Do *all* iconographers always have a priestly or episcopal blessing before painting/writing any icon?  And if not, what consequences might ensue?

Perhaps, and we may never know, this particular iconographer never expected this particular icon to be venerated in Orthodox churches or homes.  Is he not free to paint/write icons as he wishes, if there is no expectation of such Orthodox veneration or devotion?

I understand and appreciate your desire for purity in iconography, but would it not also be prudent to verify the iconographer's state and situation thoroughly, as well as the intent behind the creation of the icon before criticizing him and his work?
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« Reply #232 on: October 11, 2011, 11:56:58 AM »

From the blog that Dcn Lance linked to:
Quote
In the icon, besides the traditional MR ZY that indicates Maria's Divine Maternity two inscriptions have been written. The superior indicates the title of the icon: image of the Holiest Virgin of Fátima. The lower left one, in bigger characters, says “Toboiu Edinstbo” that means in you the Unity.

The latter expression reminds us the ecumenical vocation of the Icon, which has been written uniting the efforts of a catholic priest and an orthodox iconographer, trying to create an image before which catholic and orthodox faithful could pray together. In her two types of important ecumenisms are expressed. The ecumenism of the Heart of Maria and the ecumenism of the martyrdom, both very related to Fátima's message.

My suspicions have been verified. Shame on the Orthodox iconographer who painted this work. He should have known better.

Known better?

Yes, he should have known better. The responsibility of an Orthodox iconographer is to paint according to what the Orthodox Church teaches, not according to his own imagination, or to serve other causes, however noble or well-intentioned, such as "creating an image before which catholic and orthodox faithful could pray together". This iconographer has painted an image which has no place in Orthodox tradition or devotion. The painting of this image is no less a violation of iconographic principles than if a hymnographer wrote a troparion, kontakion and canon to the immaculate heart, expecting it to be sung in Orthodox churches.

Icons are painted with prayer and fasting. What was he doing when he was painting this image? Was he praying "Most-holy Mother of God of Fatima, save us"? Did he receive a blessing from his priest or bishop to paint such an image?

Perhaps he was praying, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."   Wink

Is he required to have a blessing from his priest or bishop to paint "such an image"?  And if so, and he did not have the blessing, does that make him a greater sinner or somehow invalidate the icon, which has already been said to be deficient, anyway?

Do *all* iconographers always have a priestly or episcopal blessing before painting/writing any icon?  And if not, what consequences might ensue?

Perhaps, and we may never know, this particular iconographer never expected this particular icon to be venerated in Orthodox churches or homes.  Is he not free to paint/write icons as he wishes, if there is no expectation of such Orthodox veneration or devotion?

I understand and appreciate your desire for purity in iconography, but would it not also be prudent to verify the iconographer's state and situation thoroughly, as well as the intent behind the creation of the icon before criticizing him and his work?
Also, is an artist free to paint icon-like art work?
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« Reply #233 on: October 11, 2011, 11:57:59 AM »

Also, is an artist free to paint icon-like art work?

Who would forbid him?
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« Reply #234 on: October 11, 2011, 12:04:08 PM »

Also, is an artist free to paint icon-like art work?

Who would forbid him?

Netodox Icon Police  police Grin  policeGrin??  You know, the notorious, ruthless, ubiquitous N.I.P.  Grin Roll Eyes
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« Reply #235 on: October 11, 2011, 12:38:03 PM »

...and the image in her hands is Eucharist or Body of Christ which can be seen in context as a dual reference to Jesus and to the Church. 

Not it isn't.  It is a circle inscribed with the Slavonic word Serdce/Heart and surrounded with thorns.

http://amigosderusiasannicolas.blogspot.com/2009/05/icon-of-mother-of-god-of-fatima.html


This is very very helpful and more coherent than what seemed apparent to my old eyes on this screen.

I am very happy it turns out to be an image conveying the message of the sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary [since you don't have one without the other] and I am thrilled beyond words to learn of her author!!

 Wink
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« Reply #236 on: October 11, 2011, 12:40:55 PM »

Also, is an artist free to paint icon-like art work?

Who would forbid him?
Ok, let me clarify. Is an Orthodox Christian who happens to be an artist permitted to paint icon-like art work? Would it be a sin for him to do so?
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« Reply #237 on: October 11, 2011, 12:41:30 PM »

IDK but I know about some who do.
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« Reply #238 on: October 11, 2011, 12:46:51 PM »

IDK but I know about some who do.

Quick!!! Better N.I.P. it in the bud!!!!  police Grin police Grin Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

(I just really couldn't resist!  Sorry  Roll Eyes)
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« Reply #239 on: October 11, 2011, 01:07:12 PM »

Also, is an artist free to paint icon-like art work?

Who would forbid him?
Ok, let me clarify. Is an Orthodox Christian who happens to be an artist permitted to paint icon-like art work? Would it be a sin for him to do so?
I would think as long as they dont pawn it off as an icon they'd be fine. If they did than they're apparently guilty of more than 1 sin.

PP
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« Reply #240 on: October 11, 2011, 01:16:23 PM »

I would love it if Fabio Leite would respond to this post, especially since he accused me of being a troll and I actually put a bit of effort into responding to him for a change.

You never found the Roman Church respectable, so cut out the nonsense.

Behave. You don't know anything about me. I have been under much more serious social problems for defending the Roman Church than you can imagine. From losing friendships to being labeled negatively in professional situations where I could have taken advantage of just repeating what the chorus sing. I - occasionally - collaborate with a media-watch newspaper with Catholic explicit catholic leanings and now and then I have to put up with the same prejudices they do. I have defended the role of the Roman church in the West and in Brazilian culture in face of secularists and atheists many times. Some of my best friends and my family are Romans, and the Roman Elderly Ladies Prayer Group used to go to my house frequently and we had wonderful conversations. So wash your mouth - or fingers - before trying to guess what I feel for anything.

What I don't respect Wyatt, is you and Elijamariah, only. Don't hide behind the Roman church. For all your histerical pseudo-apologetic you two pass as just mediocre trolls in a forum that has no rules for banning trolls and that is the only reason you thrive. I have debated these issues in person with Roman friends who are far more knowledgeable than you  and never, *never* any of then showed the kind of idiotic insecurity you two show here.  So you won't have the excuse of no-reference. I have plenty of references in my personal life of intelligent *pious* Romans who know how to discuss differences without ridiculously resorting to offenses or acusations.
Okay...I'll bite.

When you debated these issues (which I assume means the Sacred Heart devotion) with your oh-so-much-more-knowledgeable Roman friends, what was their take on it?

Also, don't mistake my unwillingness to pull out all the stops in my discussions with you as my being a "mediocre troll" or an unknowledgeable Catholic. When a position reaches a certain level of absurdity, it just feels like a waste of time. However, you have spunk and, believe it or not, I like you...so I'm going to throw a few things your way to think about. You can respond if you feel so inclined.

The quote by the Pope referencing the Sacred Heart devotion speaks of "worship." Nowadays, worship refers primarily to one thing and one thing only, and that is adoration which belongs to God alone. However, that was not always the case. In historical documents from the past, there are three things that the word worship can be referencing: dulia, hyperdulia, and latria. Only latria refers to the the type of worship that belongs only to God. Now...in terms of the Sacred Heart we have a unique situation since we are talking about God Incarnate's heart. Is the heart of God holy and sacred or isn't it (and thus worthy of some form of worship)? Keep in mind, I am operating under the premise that the Sacred Heart devotion is actually referring to the worship of Christ's literal heart to the exclusion of everything else, which seems to be the common Eastern Orthodox understanding of that particular Catholic devotion. I don't believe that that has been proven to be the intent of the devotion, however.

Also, I have a somewhat different yet related question for you. When someone uses the expression "well bless his/her heart," what are they saying?
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« Reply #241 on: October 11, 2011, 01:28:10 PM »

Also, is an artist free to paint icon-like art work?

Who would forbid him?
Ok, let me clarify. Is an Orthodox Christian who happens to be an artist permitted to paint icon-like art work? Would it be a sin for him to do so?
I would think as long as they dont pawn it off as an icon they'd be fine. If they did than they're apparently guilty of more than 1 sin.

PP

Which sins?  Who decides?

I guess it might be useful to define "icon", just so we're all talking about the same thing, and not just bitmapped images on a computer screen.

Can a Catholic paint/write an "icon" and it's still an "icon"?

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« Reply #242 on: October 11, 2011, 01:43:58 PM »

Also, is an artist free to paint icon-like art work?

Who would forbid him?
Ok, let me clarify. Is an Orthodox Christian who happens to be an artist permitted to paint icon-like art work? Would it be a sin for him to do so?
I would think as long as they dont pawn it off as an icon they'd be fine. If they did than they're apparently guilty of more than 1 sin.

PP

Which sins?  Who decides?

I guess it might be useful to define "icon", just so we're all talking about the same thing, and not just bitmapped images on a computer screen.

Can a Catholic paint/write an "icon" and it's still an "icon"?



Well, from my understanding iconsographers must go through extensive training and prayer to make icons. If someone does not do this and says that they are icons in the sense that people think of then they're apparently guilty of misleading believers.

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« Reply #243 on: October 11, 2011, 02:12:54 PM »

Also, is an artist free to paint icon-like art work?

Who would forbid him?
Ok, let me clarify. Is an Orthodox Christian who happens to be an artist permitted to paint icon-like art work? Would it be a sin for him to do so?
I would think as long as they dont pawn it off as an icon they'd be fine. If they did than they're apparently guilty of more than 1 sin.

PP

Which sins?  Who decides?

I guess it might be useful to define "icon", just so we're all talking about the same thing, and not just bitmapped images on a computer screen.

Can a Catholic paint/write an "icon" and it's still an "icon"?



Well, from my understanding iconsographers must go through extensive training and prayer to make icons. If someone does not do this and says that they are icons in the sense that people think of then they're apparently guilty of misleading believers.

PP

What consists of "extensive training"?  I ask because if I as a Catholic (with great artistic ability--which I don't have, btw  Wink)were to take a weekend workshop with, say Wayne Hajos (a somewhat local Orthodox iconographer, who does do workshops), and during the course of that workshop we painted, for example, Not Made With Hands, and we did so with deep prayer, would I then be able to call my work an "icon"? 

(Wow!  We've come a long way away from "The Sacred Heart As I Know It", haven't we  Wink?)
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« Reply #244 on: October 11, 2011, 03:21:44 PM »

I still have this booklet, a little soiled after 31 years, but it is still a powerful catechism in my opinion.  And even at eight years old I understood the Sacred Heart was a symbol for Christ and His divine love for us, not a seperated piece of him.

I cannot help but wonder, if an eight year old boy can have this understanding, why does it appear to be so difficult for grown men and women, even if they are Orthodox?

When I see icons of Christ, especially ones such as the extreme humility icon below, I see his divine love for us. I don't need to see his heart to realize this.





That is one of my most favorite icons!!  But you miss the point.  As an icon is an image or symbol representing that which it depicts, so the Sacred Heart is a symbol representing that which it depicts or refers to, i.e. Christ and His Divine Love for us.  A young boy grasps this notion quite readily, it appears.  Grown men and women quibble and bicker over every jot and tittle of it, blind to the Love represented by the symbol of His Heart.

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« Reply #245 on: October 11, 2011, 04:31:29 PM »

Quote
The Pokrova and the Joy of Joys come to mind foremost.

On the Pokrov icons:...

I am aware of all that but you are equally aware there are as many examples of the Pokrova without Christ and the rest.

http://www.pokrovchurch.com/
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« Reply #246 on: October 11, 2011, 07:48:33 PM »

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Is he required to have a blessing from his priest or bishop to paint "such an image"?  And if so, and he did not have the blessing, does that make him a greater sinner or somehow invalidate the icon, which has already been said to be deficient, anyway?

All Orthodox iconographers, once they have undergone artistic, practical and theological training, should be blessed by their bishop before they can call themselves iconographers. It is a vocation within the Church, as are the offices of reader, hymnographer, and chanter. The episcopal blessing gives them the authority to accept commissions.

Quote
Do *all* iconographers always have a priestly or episcopal blessing before painting/writing any icon?  And if not, what consequences might ensue?

An experienced iconographer might not necessarily require a blessing for every icon he paints, if the subject and manner of portrayal is beyond question, but he would certainly require one for a large or important commission, such as painting the interior of a church, or providing icons for an iconostasis. It is also a responsibility of an iconographer to assess whether an image he has been asked to paint falls within canonical guidelines, and, if in doubt, consult a more experienced iconographer or trusted authority, and, if need be, his priest and/or bishop. Where he is asked to paint an icon of a saint of whom there is no, or no reliable "prototype" icon to refer to, he must then examine the life of the saint, any hymnography written for that saint, and any other relevant information preserved in the tradition of the Church, such as the writings of the Fathers. A clerical blessing would be desirable, if not essential, in such a case. Then, with fasting, and much prayer to the saint throughout the painting of the icon, he paints the icon.

If the subject he has been asked to paint does not conform with Orthodox theology and doctrine, then he should reject the commission. To paint an "icon" which goes against Orthodox tradition is no less a travesty than if a hymnographer wrote hymns contrary to Orthodox doctrine and theology, or if a priest changed the words to the Trinitarian formula to "Creator, Liberator and Sustainer" from "Father, Son and Holy Spirit".

Quote
Perhaps, and we may never know, this particular iconographer never expected this particular icon to be venerated in Orthodox churches or homes.  Is he not free to paint/write icons as he wishes, if there is no expectation of such Orthodox veneration or devotion?

The motivation for the painting of this Fatima image has been stated clearly and unambiguously by those who commissioned it:

Quote
The latter expression reminds us of the ecumenical vocation of the Icon, which has been written uniting the efforts of a catholic priest and an orthodox iconographer, trying to create an image before which catholic and orthodox faithful could pray together. In her two types of important ecumenisms are expressed. The ecumenism of the Heart of Maria and the ecumenism of the martyrdom, both very related to Fátima's message.

Iconographers, like hymnographers, are not free agents to paint or compose as they please, nor are they obliged to paint or compose to their patron's wishes where this contradicts Orthodox tradition. They are servants and instruments of the Church. The works of their hands (or their pens) must properly and faithfully proclaim and espouse what the Church teaches.

It should also be remembered that Orthodox icons are not only used in private and personal devotions, but have an essential liturgical function. They are displayed in prominent positions in churches, they are venerated by the faithful, candles are lit around them as offerings, they are censed at specific times in the various liturgical services by clergy. So important are icons, that if a Divine Liturgy had to be held outside of a church building, the bare minimum requirements are an antimension, a censer, and two icons: one of Christ, one of the Mother of God.

Icons are also blessed on the altar of a church. As well as "completing" the sanctification and dedication of an icon for use as a holy object (as is done with altar accoutrements, and even non-liturgical objects such as wedding rings), it is also a means of guarding the integrity of iconography. A wise and knowledgeable priest will not allow the blessing of any suspect image.

Quote
I understand and appreciate your desire for purity in iconography, but would it not also be prudent to verify the iconographer's state and situation thoroughly, as well as the intent behind the creation of the icon before criticizing him and his work?

See my earlier comments. To summarize:

It requires the imprimatur of Orthodox theology and doctrine to allow the portrayal of any scene or imagery in an icon. In iconography, as is true in any other aspect of Orthodoxy, nothing is random. Nothing is without meaning. Everything is linked. Everything has a purpose.

It is imperative on the part of every iconographer for his or her icons to be subject to the highest level of theological and doctrinal rigor, particularly when he wishes to portray a saint where there is no (or no reliable) historical prototype. Enough damage has been caused over the centuries by the persistence of unmistakeably uncanonical images (such as the “New Testament Trinity”, “Angel of Holy Silence”, and other such images, often, it must be said, out of honest ignorance), and, in more recent years, by the adoption of an abstracted, “iconographic” artistic style by non-Orthodox painters depicting subjects consistent with their own denomination’s doctrines, but which are contrary to Orthodox teaching. Such images can create confusion and, in some cases, spiritual damage, to otherwise good, pious Orthodox believers. Sadly, there are also a number of Orthodox iconographers who have made canonical mistakes.

To a non-Orthodox person, it is iconography which is the single most visible and definitive element which distinguishes the Orthodox Church from all others. It is our responsibility to ensure this holy and priceless treasure of our Church is preserved and defended against the influx of elements foreign to Orthodox belief and doctrine. The iconodules who suffered and often paid with their lives during the iconoclastic upheavals of past centuries deserve nothing less in their honor.
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« Reply #247 on: October 11, 2011, 08:11:23 PM »

Byzantine style iconography, perhaps. But the apostolic Churches of the West hold to the same decrees of the Ecumenical Council that those of the East do.

The rubrics of the Roman rite, for example, require the priest to kiss and cense images of the cross and saints, as well as holy relics.

The theology of the holy image is not unique to Eastern Orthodoxy, nor was it ever lost in the West, or any other ancient churches for that matter.

The canons that developed specifically within Eastern Orthodoxy are not an inherent part of the theology of holy images and are not what determines whether something is worthy of veneration or not. They are a means to honor Our Lord, Our Lady, the saints, sacred history, and the honor we pay them passes on to the prototype, no matter what color their dress or what side the Christ Child is seated on.

That doesn't mean you can put any ol' thing you with into an icon, it does indeed need to reflect correct theology. But even if that weren't the case, and there was something questionable in an icon, I'd still find it very difficult to not venerate the person depicted.

Canons and traditions that developed later in one particular stream of ancient Christianity do not mean that something not created according to them somehow blocks our prayers and venerations from passing through to the other side.

To a non-Orthodox person, it is iconography which is the single most visible and definitive element which distinguishes the Orthodox Church from all others. It is our responsibility to ensure this holy and priceless treasure of our Church is preserved and defended against the influx of elements foreign to Orthodox belief and doctrine. The iconodules who suffered and often paid with their lives during the iconoclastic upheavals of past centuries deserve nothing less in their honor.
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« Reply #248 on: October 11, 2011, 08:45:30 PM »

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Byzantine style iconography, perhaps. But the apostolic Churches of the West hold to the same decrees of the Ecumenical Council that those of the East do.

The church of Rome did not accept the decrees of the Quinisext Council for centuries. By the time it did, the Renaissance and its naturalistic, sensual and dramatic art had taken over and informed western church art.


Quote
The theology of the holy image is not unique to Eastern Orthodoxy, nor was it ever lost in the West, or any other ancient churches for that matter.

Icon theology was indeed lost in the west, as we can see from the persistence of three-dimensional statues, abundant examples of Madonnas modelled on the wives and daughters of noblemen, paintings and statues of saints modelled on all sorts of people (like Michelangelo's self-portrait in his fresco of St Bartholomew in the Sistine Chapel Last Judgement) which destroy the mandatory connection between the subject of the image and the prototype it represents; and the profusion of representations of God the Father as an old man, which, sadly, re-entered the Orthodox world in later centuries.

All of these aberrations are violations of clearly-expressed iconographic principles and canons.

Quote
The canons that developed specifically within Eastern Orthodoxy are not an inherent part of the theology of holy images and are not what determines whether something is worthy of veneration or not. They are a means to honor Our Lord, Our Lady, the saints, sacred history, and the honor we pay them passes on to the prototype, no matter what color their dress or what side the Christ Child is seated on.

Could you please elaborate on the part in bold? Which canons are you referring to?

Quote
That doesn't mean you can put any ol' thing you with into an icon, it does indeed need to reflect correct theology.


Exactly. Which the Fatima image does not, from the Orthodox POV.

Quote
But even if that weren't the case, and there was something questionable in an icon, I'd still find it very difficult to not venerate the person depicted.


The Fatima image was not the product of honest ignorance, as was so often the case in centuries past, but of a deliberate act of syncretism and portrayal of a non-Orthodox doctrine in a form which resembles Orthodox iconography. What is worse is that an Orthodox iconographer actively and willingly participated in its production. I could not, in good conscience, venerate that image, as it does not proclaim what the Church teaches so clearly about the Mother of God. And no knowledgeable Orthodox priest worth his salt would allow such an image to be placed on the altar of his church, or on the festal analogion for his flock to venerate.

Quote
Canons and traditions that developed later in one particular stream of ancient Christianity do not mean that something not created according to them somehow blocks our prayers and venerations from passing through to the other side.

See my earlier request.
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« Reply #249 on: October 11, 2011, 09:01:37 PM »

To a non-Orthodox person, it is iconography which is the single most visible and definitive element which distinguishes the Orthodox Church from all others.

This is a very sad assertion to make about Christ's Church, even more so if it is in fact true.
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« Reply #250 on: October 11, 2011, 09:04:24 PM »


The Fatima image was not the product of honest ignorance, as was so often the case in centuries past, but of a deliberate act of syncretism and portrayal of a non-Orthodox doctrine in a form which resembles Orthodox iconography. What is worse is that an Orthodox iconographer actively and willingly participated in its production. I could not, in good conscience, venerate that image, as it does not proclaim what the Church teaches so clearly about the Mother of God. And no knowledgeable Orthodox priest worth his salt would allow such an image to be placed on the altar of his church, or on the festal analogion for his flock to venerate...


Yet... Wink
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« Reply #251 on: October 11, 2011, 09:07:23 PM »


The Fatima image was not the product of honest ignorance, as was so often the case in centuries past, but of a deliberate act of syncretism and portrayal of a non-Orthodox doctrine in a form which resembles Orthodox iconography. What is worse is that an Orthodox iconographer actively and willingly participated in its production. I could not, in good conscience, venerate that image, as it does not proclaim what the Church teaches so clearly about the Mother of God. And no knowledgeable Orthodox priest worth his salt would allow such an image to be placed on the altar of his church, or on the festal analogion for his flock to venerate...


Yet... Wink

Yet, what? Please clarify.
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« Reply #252 on: October 11, 2011, 09:10:46 PM »


The Fatima image was not the product of honest ignorance, as was so often the case in centuries past, but of a deliberate act of syncretism and portrayal of a non-Orthodox doctrine in a form which resembles Orthodox iconography. What is worse is that an Orthodox iconographer actively and willingly participated in its production. I could not, in good conscience, venerate that image, as it does not proclaim what the Church teaches so clearly about the Mother of God. And no knowledgeable Orthodox priest worth his salt would allow such an image to be placed on the altar of his church, or on the festal analogion for his flock to venerate...


Yet... Wink

Yet, what? Please clarify.

If there is resumed communion, that icon would be venerable over night. 

It seems to me that while we are in serious bi-lateral dialogue, we ought to reserve harsh judgment for that time when it appears that we are destined to sustain the schism.  Till then, particularly with devotional aspects of the faith, I think we should be more willing to accept that holiness is not restricted...or grace is not restricted.

M.
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« Reply #253 on: October 11, 2011, 09:17:13 PM »

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If there is resumed communion, that icon would be venerable over night. 

But, there is no resumed communion, nor is this likely for quite some time. And, even if communion between Rome and Orthodoxy is resumed, there is no guarantee that the devotions to the sacred/immaculate hearts will be declared acceptable by the Orthodox.

Until the Orthodox Church declares these devotions as proper and consistent with doctrine and theology, I, and every Orthodox Christian, should resist every attempt to introduce them into Orthodoxy by the back door. This is precisely what this Fatima image is.
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« Reply #254 on: October 11, 2011, 09:22:20 PM »

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If there is resumed communion, that icon would be venerable over night. 

But, there is no resumed communion, nor is this likely for quite some time. And, even if communion between Rome and Orthodoxy is resumed, there is no guarantee that the devotions to the sacred/immaculate hearts will be declared acceptable by the Orthodox.

Until the Orthodox Church declares these devotions as proper and consistent with doctrine and theology, I, and every Orthodox Christian, should resist every attempt to introduce them into Orthodoxy by the back door. This is precisely what this Fatima image is.

And this brings us full circle back to Father Aidan's approach to the Western Rite in Orthodoxy, which drives him to say that not only is the Sacred Heart devotion not suitable for Byzantine spirituality but it is in truth, evil.

So he poses a western Rite grafted on to Byzantine spirituality.

Talk about syncretism...

My suggestion is to leave it at "the Sacred Heart devotion is not eastern..."...but I am not sure you can even really make that stand up because it is from the heart theology of the east that SS. Bernard and Bonaventure took their understanding of the Sacred Heart of Jesus...
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« Reply #255 on: October 11, 2011, 09:30:31 PM »

Quote
If there is resumed communion, that icon would be venerable over night. 

But, there is no resumed communion, nor is this likely for quite some time. And, even if communion between Rome and Orthodoxy is resumed, there is no guarantee that the devotions to the sacred/immaculate hearts will be declared acceptable by the Orthodox.

Until the Orthodox Church declares these devotions as proper and consistent with doctrine and theology, I, and every Orthodox Christian, should resist every attempt to introduce them into Orthodoxy by the back door. This is precisely what this Fatima image is.

And this brings us full circle back to Father Aidan's approach to the Western Rite in Orthodoxy, which drives him to say that not only is the Sacred Heart devotion not suitable for Byzantine spirituality but it is in truth, evil.

So he poses a western Rite grafted on to Byzantine spirituality.

Talk about syncretism...

My suggestion is to leave it at "the Sacred Heart devotion is not eastern..."...but I am not sure you can even really make that stand up because it is from the heart theology of the east that SS. Bernard and Bonaventure took their understanding of the Sacred Heart of Jesus...

Mary, I am not trying to have a go at you, but this way of thinking is truly maddening to me -- it seems any heresy can be brushed aside as a unique quirk of the West or East (depending on its point of origination).

I am not saying the devotion to the sacred heart is a heresy, but how many theologically questionable ideas and practices of the West are we meant to accept just because they are Western? I was just listening to a Melkite priest earlier today say that papal infallibility is "certainly foreign to Eastern spirituality". Either it is true or it isn't: it doesn't depend on which side of Greece you are on.
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« Reply #256 on: October 11, 2011, 09:35:09 PM »

EM, I cannot speak for Fr Aidan, nor for Sts Bernard and Bonaventure, but what is beyond question is that the heart devotions of the RCC are, quite simply, not part of established and accepted Orthodox tradition. I'm sorry if this fact may displease you.
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« Reply #257 on: October 11, 2011, 09:38:10 PM »

Quote
If there is resumed communion, that icon would be venerable over night. 

But, there is no resumed communion, nor is this likely for quite some time. And, even if communion between Rome and Orthodoxy is resumed, there is no guarantee that the devotions to the sacred/immaculate hearts will be declared acceptable by the Orthodox.

Until the Orthodox Church declares these devotions as proper and consistent with doctrine and theology, I, and every Orthodox Christian, should resist every attempt to introduce them into Orthodoxy by the back door. This is precisely what this Fatima image is.

And this brings us full circle back to Father Aidan's approach to the Western Rite in Orthodoxy, which drives him to say that not only is the Sacred Heart devotion not suitable for Byzantine spirituality but it is in truth, evil.

So he poses a western Rite grafted on to Byzantine spirituality.

Talk about syncretism...

My suggestion is to leave it at "the Sacred Heart devotion is not eastern..."...but I am not sure you can even really make that stand up because it is from the heart theology of the east that SS. Bernard and Bonaventure took their understanding of the Sacred Heart of Jesus...

Mary, I am not trying to have a go at you, but this way of thinking is truly maddening to me -- it seems any heresy can be brushed aside as a unique quirk of the West or East (depending on its point of origination).

I am not saying the devotion to the sacred heart is a heresy, but how many theologically questionable ideas and practices of the West are we meant to accept just because they are Western? I was just listening to a Melkite priest earlier today say that papal infallibility is "certainly foreign to Eastern spirituality". Either it is true or it isn't: it doesn't depend on which side of Greece you are on.

Is the question whether or not it is foreign?  Or is the question whether or not it is evil?...as in heretical and totally devoid of all grace...If it is not evil then perhaps it can be considered over time as something worth discussing with an eye to resolving differences.  After another several hundred years, it may not be quite so "foreign"...

Who is suggeting that differences be "passed over"?  I certainly do not think that way.

What is "maddening" to me is the willingness of Orthodox believers to speak and behave as though most, if not all, of our "differences" are evil, in fact...the differences on the part of the western Church that is.

I am suggesting that we stop doing that while we are discussing things in good faith and with an eye to "sooner" rather than "later" in terms of resumed communion, because that is the message that is quietly being sent.

I know you're not taking any kind of personal swipe here!!

M.

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« Reply #258 on: October 11, 2011, 09:46:21 PM »

Quote
If there is resumed communion, that icon would be venerable over night. 

But, there is no resumed communion, nor is this likely for quite some time. And, even if communion between Rome and Orthodoxy is resumed, there is no guarantee that the devotions to the sacred/immaculate hearts will be declared acceptable by the Orthodox.

Until the Orthodox Church declares these devotions as proper and consistent with doctrine and theology, I, and every Orthodox Christian, should resist every attempt to introduce them into Orthodoxy by the back door. This is precisely what this Fatima image is.

And this brings us full circle back to Father Aidan's approach to the Western Rite in Orthodoxy, which drives him to say that not only is the Sacred Heart devotion not suitable for Byzantine spirituality but it is in truth, evil.

So he poses a western Rite grafted on to Byzantine spirituality.

Talk about syncretism...

My suggestion is to leave it at "the Sacred Heart devotion is not eastern..."...but I am not sure you can even really make that stand up because it is from the heart theology of the east that SS. Bernard and Bonaventure took their understanding of the Sacred Heart of Jesus...

Mary, I am not trying to have a go at you, but this way of thinking is truly maddening to me -- it seems any heresy can be brushed aside as a unique quirk of the West or East (depending on its point of origination).

I am not saying the devotion to the sacred heart is a heresy, but how many theologically questionable ideas and practices of the West are we meant to accept just because they are Western? I was just listening to a Melkite priest earlier today say that papal infallibility is "certainly foreign to Eastern spirituality". Either it is true or it isn't: it doesn't depend on which side of Greece you are on.

Is the question whether or not it is foreign?  Or is the question whether or not it is evil?...as in heretical and totally devoid of all grace...If it is not evil then perhaps it can be considered over time as something worth discussing with an eye to resolving differences.  After another several hundred years, it may not be quite so "foreign"...

Who is suggeting that differences be "passed over"?  I certainly do not think that way.

What is "maddening" to me is the willingness of Orthodox believers to speak and behave as though most, if not all, of our "differences" are evil, in fact...the differences on the part of the western Church that is.

I am suggesting that we stop doing that while we are discussing things in good faith and with an eye to "sooner" rather than "later" in terms of resumed communion, because that is the message that is quietly being sent.

I know you're not taking any kind of personal swipe here!!

M.

You do have a good point, and I think reasonable minds may disagree about what practices and theologies cross the line. I think the sacred heart devotion is one of those that may be okay -- things like papal infallibility and filioque do not fall into that category for me.

You are right that surely the test must be whether a practice or theology is heretical or wrong (I would hesitate to use the word evil) rather than simply unknown or different. On the one hand, as an Easterner, I should not despise the practices of the West simply because they are Western. On the other hand, I think "you just don't like it because it's Western/Eastern" can often be used to deflect legitimate criticisms.
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« Reply #259 on: October 12, 2011, 12:30:31 AM »

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Byzantine style iconography, perhaps. But the apostolic Churches of the West hold to the same decrees of the Ecumenical Council that those of the East do.

The church of Rome did not accept the decrees of the Quinisext Council for centuries.

Not really. From the Catholic Encyclopedia:  

"After the storm of the eighth and ninth centuries (Iconoclasm) the Church throughout the world settled down again in secure possession of her images. Since their triumphant return on the Feast of Orthodoxy in 842, their position has not again been questioned by any of the old Churches. Only now, the situation has become more clearly defined. The Seventh General Council (Nicaea II, 787) had laid down the principles, established the theological basis, and restrained the abuses of image-worship. That council was accepted by the great Church of the five patriarchates as equal to the other six. Without accepting its decrees no one could be a member of that church, no one can today be Catholic or Orthodox. Images and their cult had become an integral part of the Faith, Iconoclasm was now definitely a heresy condemned by the Church as much as Arianism or Nestorianism. The situation was not changed by the Great Schism of the ninth and eleventh centuries. Both sides still maintain the same principles in this matter; both equally revere as an oecumenical synod the last council in which they met in unison before the final calamity. The Orthodox agree to all that Catholics say as to the principle of venerating images. So do the old Eastern schismatical Churches. Although they broke away long before Iconoclasm and Nicaea II, they took with them then the principles we maintain — sufficient evidence that those principles were not new in 787. Nestorians, Armenians, Jacobites, Copts, and Abyssinians fill their churches with holy icons, bow to them, incense them, kiss them, just as do the Orthodox."

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Icon theology was indeed lost in the west, as we can see from the persistence of three-dimensional statues

It should be noted that the Ecumenical Council used as a basis for its justification of the theology of images Exodus 25:17 “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. 18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. 20 And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. 21 You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. 22 And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel."

If that doesn't describe a three-dimensional object, I don't know what does. Some exact replicas look like this:



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All of these aberrations are violations of clearly-expressed iconographic principles and canons.

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The canons that developed specifically within Eastern Orthodoxy are not an inherent part of the theology of holy images and are not what determines whether something is worthy of veneration or not. They are a means to honor Our Lord, Our Lady, the saints, sacred history, and the honor we pay them passes on to the prototype, no matter what color their dress or what side the Christ Child is seated on.

Could you please elaborate on the part in bold? Which canons are you referring to?

Probably the same ones you referred to a few lines above...
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« Reply #260 on: October 12, 2011, 01:20:32 AM »

Act 7, of the Seventh Ecumenical Council:

“We define the rule with all accuracy and diligence, in a manner not unlike that befitting the shape of the precious and vivifying Cross, that the venerable and holy icons, painted or mosaic, or made of any other suitable material, be placed in the holy churches of God upon sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, houses and streets, both of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, and of our spotless Lady the holy Mother of God, and also of the precious Angels, and of all Saints. For the more frequently and oftener they are continually seen in pictorial representation, the more those beholding are reminded and led to visualize anew the memory of the originals which they represent and for whom moreover they also beget a yearning in the soul of the persons beholding the icons. Accordingly, such persons are prompted not only to kiss these and to pay them honorary adoration, what is more important, they are imbued with the true faith which is reflected in our worship which is due to God alone and which befits only the divine nature. But this worship must be paid in the way suggested by the form of the precious and vivifying Cross, and the holy Gospels, and the rest of sacred institutions, and the offering of wafts of incense, and the display of beams of light, to be done for the purpose of honoring them, just as it used to be the custom to do among the ancients by way of manifesting piety. For any honor paid to the icon (or picture) redounds upon the original, and whoever bows down in adoration before the icon, is at the same time bowing down in adoration to the substance (or hypostasis) of the one therein painted. For thus the doctrine of our Holy Fathers, it was the tradition of the universal Church."

Interpretation (from The Rudder):

An idol is one thing, a statue is another thing, and an icon (or picture) is a different thing. For an idol differs from an icon in that the icon is a likeness of a true thing and its original, whereas the idol is an image of a false and inexistent thing, and is not the likeness of an original, according to Origen and Theodoret — just as were the idols of the false and inexistent gods of the Greeks. We call those images which embody the whole figure statues and carved or sculptured figures in general. As for this kind of images, namely, the statues, the catholic (Orthodox) Church not only does not adore them, but she does not even manufacture them, for many reasons:

1) because in its present definition this Council says for images to be produced with paints (or colors), with mosaic, or tessellated work, and with any other suitable material (which means with gold and silver and other metals, as Theodosius the bishop of Amorion says in Act 4 of the same Council) upon the sacred utensils, and robes, including sheets and cloths; upon walls and boards, and houses and streets. It did not mention a word about construction of a statue. Rather it may be said that this definition of this Council is antagonistic to statues;

2) because neither the letters written by patriarchs in their correspondence with one another, and to emperors, nor the letters of Pope Gregory to Germanus and of Pope Adrian to the present Council, nor the speeches and orations which the bishops and monks made in connection with all the eight Acts of the present Council said anything at all about statues or sculptured figures. But also the councils held by the iconomachs, and especially that held in Blachernae in the reign of Copronymus, in writing against the holy icons, mention oil paintings and portraits, but never statues or sculptured figures, which, if they existed, could not have been passed over in silence by the iconomachs, but, on the contrary, they would have been written against with a view to imputing greater blame to the Orthodox;

3) because although the woman with an issue of blood made a bronze statue of Christ in memory of and by way of giving thanks for the miracle and the benefaction which it had conferred upon her; and she set it up in the Panead, at the feet of which there sprang up a plant, or herb, which cured various ailments; and, as some say, that statue was smashed to pieces by the Emperor Maximinus, before Constantine the Great, and the bronze was seized by him; or else Julian the Apostate seized it, and put in its place the statue of Jupiter, as an anonymous writer says. Though, I say, the woman who had an issue of blood did make this statue (which the Christians took into the Church and honored; and people went to see it out of a yearning for the original of it, as Philostorgus the Arian historically records), yet, as a matter of fact, that work of the woman who had an issue of blood was a concession from God, who, for goodness’ sake accepted it, making allowances for the imperfect knowledge of the woman who set it up; and because that was an embodiment and mark not of the grace of the Gospel, but of the old Law, as Pope Gregory II says in writing to St. Germanus (for the old Law had the two Cherubim, which were gold statues and sculptured figures containing all the body of the angelic powers, according to ch. 38 of Exodus, which Cherubim, according to an unknown expositor, had the face of a calf, and adored the Ark of the Covenant (here called the Ark of the Testimony, and by this adoration separated the Israelites from the idolatry of the Egyptians, who used to adore the calf. For the Jews learned from this that if a calf adored the Ark, it followed that the Egyptians were wrong in adoring it as a god).

Not only the old Law, but also the custom of the Greeks fostered the erection of statues and sculptured figures, as St. Germanus writes in a letter to Thomas of Claudiopolis which is to be found in Act 4 of the present Council, and which says: “It being obvious that the Savior leveled His own grace to condescension with the faith of the woman, and showed what has been made evident to us above, namely, that it is not that what is performed is in general the object, but that it is the aim of the one performing it that is being reduced to experience . . . ." And again: “We do not say this, so that we may find an excuse for exercising the art of making bronze pillars, but merely in order to make it plain that the Lord did not discard the national custom at this point, but, instead, availed Himself of it to exhibit therein for a considerable length of time the wonder-working and miracle-working efficiency of His own benevolence; on which account it is not devout to disparage the custom of a somewhat more pious nature which has prevailed among us.”

You see here three things as plainly as day, to wit: 1) that the erection of the statue of Christ was moral, and that the Lord accepted it as a matter of compromise with the times; 2) that statues ought not to be manufactured; and 3) that it is more pious and more decent for the venerable images to be depicted, not by means of statues, but by means of colors in paintings. For the same saint said above by way of anticipation that in historically recording the facts concerning the statues, he historically recounts the fact that the icons of the Apostles Peter and Paul, painted in colors, were still extant . . . Canon LXXXII of the 6th, moreover, says that we ought to prefer the grace of the Gospel to the legal form, and ought to set up the human character, or figure, of Christ in icons instead of the olden lamb even in oil paintings.

So that from all that has been said it is proved that the Westerners are acting contrary to the definition of this holy and Ecumenical Seventh Council, and contrary to the tradition of the Church in making statues and sculptured figures and plaster of paris replicas, and setting them up in their churches. We said hereinabove those representations which embody the whole of that which they represent are called statues and sculptured work and plaster of paris figures in general, whereas those representations which do not embody the whole of the person or other object which they are intended to represent, but at most merely exhibit them in relief, projecting, that is to say, here and there above the level and surface of the background, are not called statues or sculptured work or plaster of paris figures or any such name, but, instead, they are called holy icons (or, if they are not holy, simply pictures). Such are those which are to be found engraved or stamped or otherwise delineated upon the sacred vessels, on divine Gospels, and other holy books, on precious crosses, of silver and gold, according to Dositheus (p. 656 of the Dodecabiblus); to the same class are assigned also images cast in wax and more or less in relief, that is to say, projecting at various points above and receding at other points below the plane surface of the image, concerning which divine Chrysostom (in his Discourse wherein he argues that one and the same Lawgiver is the author of both the Old and the New Testament; and in Discourse 307 on the vesture of priests, the origin of which is to be found in the Gospel of the kingdom of Christ) says the following:

“I myself have loved the images cast in wax as a matter of piety. For I beheld an angel in an image driving back hordes of barbarians. I saw barbarian troops being trodden underfoot, and the words of David coming true, wherein he says: ‘Lord, in thy city Thou wilt do their image havoc’ (p. 852 of the second volume of the Conciliar Records, in Act 6 of the 7th C.; and p. 647 of the sixth vol. of Chrysostom). Oecumenius, too, accepts and approves this kind of image which is cast in wax in the manner above described (in his commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews). Hence, in writing to Symeon the bishop of Bostra, Anastasius the Patriarch of Antioch says: “though, as a matter of fact, an image is nothing else than a piece of wood and colors mixed and mingled with wax” (p. 845 of the second volume of the Conciliar Records). In the same class with these images are placed also the images which are carved in wooden crosses (crucifixes) and medallions. They, too, likewise are wrought in relief and project above the plane of the level surface, and do not compromise the whole body of the person or thing represented.

The reason and cause why statues are not adored or venerated (aside from the legal observation and custom noted hereinabove) seem to me to be the fact that when they are handled and it is noticed that the whole body and all the members of the person or thing represented are contained in them and that they not only reveal the whole surface of it in three dimensions, but can even be felt in space, instead of merely appearing as such to the eye alone, they no longer appear to be, nor have they any longer any right to be called, icons or pictures, but, on the contrary, they are sheer replications of the originals. Some persons, though, assert or opine that the reason why the Church rejected or did away with statues was in order to avoid entirely any likeness to idols. For the idols were statues of massive sculpture, capable of being felt on all sides with the hand and fingers.


It is clear from the above that, while bas-relief and embossed images are permissible for veneration, fully 3-dimensional statues are not.

And, from Leonid Ouspensky's book Theology of the Icon:

The decisions of the Quinisext Council were signed by the emperor, and a place was left for the signature of the Pope of Rome; following were the signatures of the Patriarchs Paul of Constantinople, Peter of Alexandria, Anastasius of Jerusalem and George of Antioch. These were followed by the signatures of 213 bishops or their representatives. Among the signatures was that of Basil, archbishop of Gortyna (in Crete), who signed on behalf of the Church of Rome. There were also signatures of other bishops of the West. The authority of these representatives of Western Christianity is contested. Hefele writes: "It is true that the Vita Sergii in the Liber Pontificalis reports that the legates of Pope Sergius, having been deceived by the emperor, signed their names. But these legates of the pope were simply pontifical apocrisiaries living in Constantinople and not legates who had been sent expressly to take part in the council." In any case, as soon as the council had ended, the acts were sent to Rome requesting Pope Sergius' signature. He refused, even rejecting his copy of the acts. He declared that the decisions of the council had no value and asserted that he preferred death to accepting error. The error consisted undoubtedly in some teachings and practices which were condemned by the council, such as, for example, the obligatory celibacy of clergy, the Saturday fast (already forbidden by the First Ecumenical Council), the representation of Christ in the form of a lamb, and others. Yet the Roman Church eventually accepted the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which refers to Canon 82 of the Quinisext Council. Therefore, it can be said that the Roman Church implicitly also recognises this canon. Pope St. Gregory II refers to Canon 82 in his letter to the Patriarch of Constantinople, St. Germanus. Pope Hadrian I, for example, solemnly declares in his letter to Patriarch St. Tarasius his adherence to the Quinisext Council; he does the same in a letter to the Frankish bishops in defence of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. Pope John VIII spoke of the decisions of the Quinisext Council without voicing any objection. Later, Pope Innocent III, quoting Canon 82, calls the Quinisext Council the Sixth Ecumenical Council. But all this is only the agreement of some popes, whereas there were others who had contrary opinions. On the whole, the West did not receive the decisions of the Quinisext Council.

The teaching of the Church on the christological basis of the icon, therefore, remained foreign to Western Christianity. This teaching could not enrich the sacred art of the West, which even today retains certain purely symbolic representations such as the lamb. The refusal to accept the decisions of the Quinisext Council later had, in the realm of sacred art, a great importance. The Roman Church excluded itself from the process of a development of an artistic and spiritual language, a process in which all the rest of the Church took an active part, with the Church of Constantinople providentially becoming the leader. The West remained outside of this development.

The Orthodox Church, on the contrary, in accordance with the Quinisext Council, continued to refine its art in form and in contents, an art which conveys, through images and material forms, the revelation of the divine world, giving us a key to approach, contemplate and understand it. It seems to us that it is particularly important for Western Orthodoxy, as it emerges in our own time, to be well aware of the significance of Canon 82 of the Quinisext Council. The canon, in fact, is the theoretical basis of liturgical art. Whatever course Western Orthodox art will take in the future, it will not be able to bypass the basic directive which was formulated for the first time in this canon: the transmission of historical reality and the revealed divine truth, expressed in certain forms which correspond to the spiritual experience of the Church.


The above excerpt well explains why there is such divergence in content and form of western religious art and that of canonical Orthodox iconography. Despite the church of Rome accepting the rulings of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (convened almost a century later), it seems little mind was paid by that church to the prohibitions of that Council to the portrayal of God the Father as a bearded old man, or Christ as a lamb, or in other forms inconsistent with His Incarnation, hence the perpetuation of such images to this day. A conclusion could therefore be drawn, that the west also similarly saw no problem with statues as ecclesiastical art.
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« Reply #261 on: October 12, 2011, 08:49:38 AM »

That's probably because God Himself sees no problem with statues as ecclesiastical art  Cool
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« Reply #262 on: October 12, 2011, 09:00:39 AM »

That's probably because God Himself sees no problem with statues as ecclesiastical art  Cool

You know the mind of God better than the Apostles and Fathers of the Church?
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« Reply #263 on: October 12, 2011, 09:01:35 AM »

According to Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich in The Prologue from Ohrid:

"This is the woman with the issue of blood, whom the Lord healed (Matt. 9:20). In gratitude to the Lord her healer, Veronica caused a statue of the Lord Jesus to be made, before which she prayed to God. By tradition, this statue was preserved up to the time of Julian the Apostate, when it was altered to become a statue of Zeus. This is one of the very rare occasions that a holy statue has been used in the Eastern Church. As is known, this later became a common custom in the Western Churches. St Veronica remained faithful to Christ till death, and entered peacefully into rest."

Veronica / Veroniki literally translates "true image" or "true icon."  Wink

Professor Sergios Verkhovskoi, the conservative professor of dogmatics at St. Vladimir’s Seminary forthrightly condemns as heretical anyone who declares statues as unOrthodox or in any way canonically inferior to paintings. Because the Council itself does not.

Statues were common in Byzantium. There exists to this day an ivory, three-dimensional statuette of the Virgin and Child, called “Hodegetria,” from 10th Century Constantinople, now in the Victoria and Albert museum, and it differs from similar examples in Hamburg and New York, in that it was not cut out of an ivory tablet. The back is as carefully and skillfully carved as the front.



Here is an example of some of the oldest expressions of Christian devotion, in the Roman catacombs:



Constantinople itself was filled with statues, both within and outside of the churches. One author claims that over three hundred classical statues adorned the plaza before Sancta Sophia.

Later, in the East, the lingering memory of the Iconoclasts encouraged reticence and the Moslem conquest froze Orthodox art in its most limited form. In the conquered areas the Church was driven indoors, bells were proscribed, and the externals of Christian worship were forbidden in public. While all representations of creatures were banned for Moslem, and pressure put on Christians to conform as much as possible the icon survived while the statue could not. Only in Russia was the Church free enough to maintain its full aesthetic devotional tradition.
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« Reply #264 on: October 12, 2011, 09:02:25 AM »

That's probably because God Himself sees no problem with statues as ecclesiastical art  Cool

You know the mind of God better than the Apostles and Fathers of the Church?

Nope, I can read about it in Exodus 25, where God commands the Hebrews to create golden statues of the Cherubim for the Mercy Seat of the Ark; the very place from which God will speak to them.
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« Reply #265 on: October 12, 2011, 09:36:11 AM »

Quote
Veronica / Veroniki literally translates "true image" or "true icon."

No, it does not. The name means true victory, from the Latin vera (a cognate of veritas), and the Greek nike (victory). Try again.

The scant examples of 3D statues Sleeper refers to are exceptions to the rule. If statues were indeed accepted and venerated as widely as were icons, then they would have been as widespread as 2D icons and bas-reliefs, in churches, and in people's homes. Even taking into account the ravages of time, and the destructive force of iconoclasm, many ancient icons still exist to this day. Where is there evidence of similar numbers of surviving 3D statues (not bas-reliefs) which were objects of veneration? Even St Nikolai of Okhrid states in his Prologue that the use of statues for veneration is "very rare".

Quote
One author claims that over three hundred classical statues adorned the plaza before Sancta Sophia.

Note here that the statues were outside the church, not within it. We are also not told who were depicted in the statues.

Quote
Professor Sergios Verkhovskoi, the conservative professor of dogmatics at St. Vladimir’s Seminary forthrightly condemns as heretical anyone who declares statues as unOrthodox or in any way canonically inferior to paintings. Because the Council itself does not.

I have learned to take much of what comes out of that seminary with caution. Let's say that there are some, er, interesting schools of thought there.

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« Reply #266 on: October 12, 2011, 10:10:14 AM »


I have learned to take much of what comes out of that seminary with caution. Let's say that there are some, er, interesting schools of thought there.



You are starting to sound like elijahmaria... laugh
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« Reply #267 on: October 12, 2011, 10:28:08 AM »

Statues never became an entrenched and widespread part of Orthodox tradition because they are more earthbound than a painting, and are not adept at acting as windows into heaven. Icons have such features as inverse perspective, lettering, and a gold or neutral background so that they negate earthly, temporal illusion, and rather depict a reality beyond the very limited reality that can be depicted by normal perspective and naturalism.

If statues were as widespread as icons, then surely the iconodule Fathers such as Sts John of Damascus and Theodore of the Studion would have defended their use against the iconoclasts, and the iconoclasts would similarly have railed against statues. Yet neither did, because statues simply weren't part of the picture.
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« Reply #268 on: October 12, 2011, 10:38:41 AM »

Three-dimensional statues, although they are found in Christianity from the 1st and 2nd century onward (even today there is a wonder-working wooden statue of St. George in Russia), never became a standard or widespread feature of sacred imagery, and this is as true of the West as it is of the East.

That explains why the iconoclasts had not much to say about statues--they were rather rare and so didn't figure in as much.

Statues were known in the West, but rather rare compared to flat, Byzantine-style or -compatible icons.

We think of statues as something Western, only because they proliferated after the Schism to form a standard and prevalent imagery in the Roman Catholic church.
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« Reply #269 on: October 12, 2011, 10:52:06 AM »

Statues never became an entrenched and widespread part of Orthodox tradition because they are more earthbound than a painting, and are not adept at acting as windows into heaven. Icons have such features as inverse perspective, lettering, and a gold or neutral background so that they negate earthly, temporal illusion, and rather depict a reality beyond the very limited reality that can be depicted by normal perspective and naturalism.

If statues were as widespread as icons, then surely the iconodule Fathers such as Sts John of Damascus and Theodore of the Studion would have defended their use against the iconoclasts, and the iconoclasts would similarly have railed against statues. Yet neither did, because statues simply weren't part of the picture.


I find Sleeper's line of argument far more compelling than this one, not least because of the Scriptural reference to three dimensional objects.

I think the thing that bothers me, again in keeping with what I wrote above, is the idea that three dimensional representation is in some way inferior or prone to evil, if not evil in itself.

I cannot tell you how many young, and convert, Orthodox children I've met who are writing essays on the diabolical nature of three dimensional art.  Scary it is...to me.

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